Enhancing Health Care Quality Through Bar-Coded Medication Administration

by Anup Maurya

The issue of medication errors is among the most gratifying issues in the health system. It is therefore essential to develop ways to reduce the risk of errors that could cause adverse effects for patients. The subject of this article is the bar code for Drug Administration (BCMA) and can have a positive effect on the quality of health care services in general and nursing care specifically. Accurate dosages of medication and the reduction of the chance of a mistaken administration can lead to improved outcomes for health and result in greater satisfaction of patients. The goal of this article is to present the subject of BCMA and to discuss its advantages for healthcare systems.

A case study of Bar Code Medication Administration

BCMA is utilized in a variety of hospitals because it is widely believed to be an efficient way to prevent medication mistakes. BCMA is a system that requires adherence to the Five Rights of Administration, which include the correct patient, the appropriate dosage, drug route, duration, and timing (Shah, Lo, Babich, Tsao, & Bansback 2016). However, it’s been noted by scientists that the usage of BCMA cannot guarantee that there are no errors with medication completely (“Why there is no “five rights” or bar codes.” 2014.). In order to achieve the greatest benefit, it is essential to consider the factors such as accessibility to medication, the quality of the packaging (readability of the data) as well as nursing rounds and many more.

One illustration for BCMA can be the administering of medicines to patients at an institution for mental health. The procedure of BCMA requires a number of stages, each step, nurses must be extremely attentive to follow the procedure precisely and to not cause damage to the patients. The first step to implement BCMA is to authorize the electronic medical record (Strudwick, Clark, McBride, Sakal, & Kalia 2017). After that, the healthcare provider has to examine both the medication as well as forms for identification of the patient in order to be sure they’re relevant to the prescribed medication (Strudwick and co. 2017). After completing these steps the nurse will administer medication.

In the example given it is conducted exactly the same way in other healthcare settings. However, it should be noted that the method used for patient identification for patients in facilities for mental health is different from the typical identification method such as the use of a wristband (Strudwick and colleagues. 2017). Patients have expressed that they are secluded when they are required to wear wristbands outside the premises. This is why BCMA in mental health facilities is believed to be a reliable method of preventing medication errors however more effective methods of patient identification are required. Alternatives such like necklaces with a photo or image recognition are recommended.

Personal Experience

A memorable event occurred that was associated with BCMA within my practice. It involved my colleague as well as two patients. I can’t describe the event as a positive one. However, the incident provided me with a lot of valuable lessons that helped me understand the process of BCMA more effectively. We were within the ear nose and throat unit. There was a patient who had receiving ibuprofen three times daily due to suffering from a middle ear infection. I administered the medication at the conclusion of my shift and handed it over to the nurse who was working following my shift. The label with the barcode on it bottle was damaged, as the packaging of acetaminophen, a different drug. Acetaminophen was a trigger for allergic reactions in the patient and I informed my friend about it prior to leaving. Additionally, I explained to her which medications were the one she was allergic to and asked her to confirm the medication since I was unable to complete the task. However, my colleague did not take note of my request and, when the next administration time camearound, she gave to the person acetaminophen instead Ibuprofen.

In the wake of the error due to the mistake, the patient experienced an extremely allergic reaction. So, after arriving in the hospital with an condition of the ear, the patient was at risk due to the shortcomings of the BCMA organisation. The downside of this event resulted in the fact that health of patient was deteriorating due to my lack of time and my colleague’s negligence. The situation could have been ameliorated by having the drugs signed correctly after their packaging was damaged. The incident has showed us that even the best designed and implemented system of technology can be prone to flaws. It is essential for nurses to verify every medication prior to administering the medication to patients. Since then I’ve been extremely careful when administering medication and I have never trusted the other nurses to verify medication, the packaging of which was damaged as a result of my actions.


The subject of the essay Bar code medication administration is a crucial issue in the health care setting since it will improve results for patients due to less errors in the administration of medications. The goal of the project was to increase the understanding of BCMA and to analyze my personal experiences. The knowledge gained can have a positive effect on my nursing care as I am aware that BCMA does not only have advantages but also disadvantages which can be eliminated by right actions that nurses take.

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