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Published on September 16, 2009

Valley West Begins Using Electronic Bedside Medication Verification System

September 16, 2009

Valley West Community Hospital recently began using a new system for improving patient safety during administration of medication to patients. The system, Bedside Medication Verification, (BMV), utilizes bar codes on patient ID bands and on medications. It provides a system of double checks that alert caregivers to things such as high risk medications or potential administration errors. The information obtained during the use of the scanner is stored in a computerized Medication Administration Record, which becomes part of a patient’s medical record. This allows physicians to view every dosage a patient has received electronically, from their office, home or even their laptop computer in the car. Physician reaction to the addition of this new technology has been positive.

In hospitals throughout the nation, the BMV system has been shown to reduce medication administration errors by up to 50 percent, greatly increasing patient safety. BMV automatically alerts healthcare professionals of allergies or drug interactions prior to medication administration. Valley West Community Hospital is a leader in this innovative technology, with only thirty-three percent of hospitals nationwide, and only twenty percent of hospitals with less than 100 beds utilizing the system.  

The system is currently being used on all inpatient units, including obstetrics and special care units. “There is already increased patient and staff satisfaction,” said Sue Thompson, RN, Director of Medical/Surgical/Pediatric/ICU, and member of the implementation team. “This is a huge step as we move forward with the latest technology updates to continually improve the standard of care for our patients at Valley West.”

DurRay Sanchez-Torres, RN, Clinical Development Coordinator for Valley West, played a key role in developing the processes and staff training for the new system. She said BMV is not only a huge advancement in patient medication safety, it eliminates several paper and cross-checking steps, giving nurses more time for bedside care. Patients also benefit because the system allows doctors to be better informed.

“Bedside medication verification is just another way Valley West is being proactive in patient safety,” Sanchez-Torres said.

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