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Hospital Launches Bar Coding to Ensure Patient Safety

New Britain [June 10 2008] - The bar-coding and scanning technology that revolutionized the retail industry is now enhancing patient safety at The Hospital of Central Connecticut by helping verify that patients are receiving the correct medications.

The patient safety initiative began this week at the New Britain General campus and last week at the Bradley Memorial campus in Southington.

It replaces paper medication records for each patient with an electronic medication record (eMAR) that lists the patient’s medications, dosages and other information about his or her treatment. The initiative also includes a unique bar code on each patient’s ID band and the medications ordered for that patient.

Before the patient is given any prescribed medication, the nurse or respiratory therapist will scan the codes on the patient’s ID band and on the medications, using either a personal digital assistant (PDA)-like device, or a scanning device linked to a computer workstation on wheels.

The patient’s electronic medication administration record helps the nurse or respiratory therapist verify that the right patient is receiving the right medication in the right dose, and that the medication is being given via the correct route (oral, IV, etc.) and at the right time. It will alert the clinician if there’s a mismatch.

While the hospital’s current medication administration system employs multiple safety check points, electronic systems instill even stronger verification systems and are being used increasingly nationwide, said Linda Frigon, R.N., M.S.N., director of the hospital’s Patient Care Systems.

“Patient safety, a primary concern for patients and healthcare providers, will further improve with this multiple check system,” Frigon said.
The new eMAR and bar coding systems have been implemented in the hospital’s inpatient units and will soon be expanded to some outpatient areas.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, ext. 6507

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779