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Study points to methods for safe drug dispensing via computer

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers have found that a new computer system that uses bar codes to safeguard patients' medications will work successfully, but not without creating new, serious problems for nurses charged with patient care.

"In general, we viewed the system as successful. There are no magic bullet solutions to human error in any setting, and even the best systems will require constant maintenance and flexible redesign after implementation," said Emily Patterson, a research specialist in Ohio State's Institute for Ergonomics.

The Veterans Health Administration (VA) recently designed a drug dispensing system called Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), and asked Patterson to evaluate it.

At issue is whether bar codes could enable healthcare professionals to verify that a patient is receiving the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time.

Patterson conducted the research with the VA Midwest Patient Safety Center of Inquiry in Cincinnati and published the results in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Her coauthors include Marta Render, director of the center and adjunct associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati, and Richard Cook, director of the Cognitive Technologies La
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Contact: Emily Patterson
Patterson.150@osu.edu
614-688-3938
Ohio State University
7-Jan-2003


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