Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Drug Checks

$100 million is what the Ministry of Health would like hospitals to spend on computers and barcoding patients in an attempt to reduce the number of drug errors.

This new system would see public hospitals introduced an electronic drug-prescribing system or computerised patient medication records that connect with the hospital pharmacy. The required drugs would then be packaged with a barcode, sent to teh required ward and patients would have a barcode that was unique to them.

By scanning both barcodes medical staff could see if it was a match or not and if a match did not occur the medication would not be administered.

Currently, unless you are unconsciousness and then your name, date of birth and doctor are on your hospital wrist band, nurses generally ask you for your name and date of birth before administering medications. However, sometimes they are busy so don't and once you have been in the hospital awhile they recognise you and know that those meds are for you.

I think the barcode could help reduce mistakes, but it also just seems like a whole lot more bureaucracy. Hospitals are understaffed and nurses really do not have the time to be ensuring that they grab the scanner for the barcodes each time.

If such a system was successful it would save about 2800 people from suffering permanent disabilities, 29,000 from short term disability and hospital stays would reduced. Currently patients who suffer a medication error spend an extra 7.5 days in hospital.

The Health Minister provided $10.2 million in this year's budget over four years for such a scheme.

1 comment:

BaByBlogger said...

Before long the Labour Government will have us all micro-chipped like dogs.