Data Matrix Barcodes on Pharmaceutical Items to Improve Patient Safety
In the inpatient context, medication mistakes can happen in 20 - 25% of dosage administrations, according to a study that was published in BMJ Quality and Safety.
That is a startling statistic that has serious consequences for patient safety.
The Food and Drug Administration imposed linear barcodes for the majority of medications in 2004.
However, Mark Neuenschwander, founding director at the THRIV Coalition for IV Accuracy, stated that these barcodes don't do enough to prevent potential mistakes.
Data matrix barcodes are replacing linear barcodes in pharmacy
"Linear barcodes just give you the National Drug Center (NDC) number," he said.
"While that may be useful for detecting fake goods and keeping track of inventories, it is insufficient to increase safety at the point of care.
It doesn't indicate if the medicine you may be using has expired or been recalled.”
Even for experienced clinicians, IV preparation—especially when mixing many medications into one IV bag—can be a challenging task.
Pharmacists must make sure that the admixture is prepared with the proper volume and dosage in addition to the correct constituents.
Otherwise, there is a chance of patient injury and even death if it is off by even a little amount.
To learn more about Data Matrix Barcodes, visit: What is a data matrix code?
Data matrix barcodes are helpful in the pharmacy industry
Kevin Marvin, RPh, ASHP Senior Consultant and independent healthcare informatics consultant, explained:
"The technician or pharmacist must walk to the keyboard to manually type it because that information is not contained on the linear barcode."
"However, the lot number and expiration date are already present in a two-dimensional, data matrix barcode.
The process can be greatly simplified by pharmacists by just scanning it rather than manually entering the data.
Data matrix barcodes can also increase patient safety by assisting in making sure IV mixes are correct and safe.
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