The Way-Paver Awards “recognize individuals and organizations that have cleared the path and paved the way for a safer point of care in hospitals worldwide.” The awards will be presented April 28 at the sixth annual gathering of The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Louisville, Ky. Past recipients of the institutional award include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Veteran’s Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.
Known as an electronic medication administration record or e-MAR, the system at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) was designed and continues to be monitored by a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, IT specialists, and pharmacists. Only about half of the hospitals in the United States now use e-MAR technology.
“Our first and foremost goal with the system,” stated Gail Balch, registered nurse and SVMC’s director of software support, “is providing the safest possible environment for our patients. Using this technology allows us multiple checks to make sure we are giving the right medicine at the right dose to the right patient at the right time.”
Even the best nurses and physicians can make a mistake when ordering or dispensing medications. The process with the e-MAR system takes the same amount of time as before to give a patient medication, but now, there are several more safety checks in place. Using the e-MAR system helps to provide patients at SVMC with the safest hospital stay possible.
SVMC’s e-MAR project was initiated with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a federal agency committed to promoting safety, quality and organizational excellence in health care throughout the United States. The goal was to demonstrate the usefulness of barcoding systems for reducing medication administration errors and to enhance the patient-focused, personalized service SVMC is already known for.
Since the project’s implementation, SVMC has administered over one million doses of medication using BPOC and has maintained a 97.9 percent medication scan rate and a 99.4 percent patient-identification scan rate over the past 12 months — some of the top results in the country.
When the American Nurse’s Credentialing Center (ANCC) designated SVMC as a Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence for the third time in October of 2010, they commended the hospital staff for the barcoding project’s success. SVMC is one of only 30 hospitals nationwide to be designated as a Magnet Hospital three consecutive times. SVMC and its
BPOC patient safety initiative are now under consideration for the annual Magnet Prize for Innovation, which will be announced in June and presented in October.
The TerraPharma Project produces educational events and hosts Internet forums to encourage the advancement of health care improvement. They assist health care organizations in overcoming barriers to using barcode technology for patient safety.
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About SVMC: Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) is Vermont’s first Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence. SVMC is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, an integrated health system providing care for patients in Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, Rensselaer and Washington Counties in New York, and Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes the VNA & Hospice of SVHC, the Centers for Living & Rehabilitation, and the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley Campuses. To learn more about SVHC, visit svhealthcare.org.