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Barcoding / eMAR

What is barcoding/electronic medication administration record (eMAR)?

MU Health Care's electronic medication administration record involves four key parts that verify medication safety:

  • Giving each patient a unique barcode on an I.D. bracelet
  • Giving each nurse a unique barcode on his or her name badge
  • Giving every drug its own barcode
  • Using a barcode scanner with a computer system called an electronic medication administration record

The electronic medication administration record system is designed to improve patient safety by providing a reliable list of all medications ordered for each patient, alerting health care providers about due medications, informing staff of potentially harmful drug interactions and verifying that the right medication is being administered at the right time, in the right dose, to the right patient, in the right way.

How are we doing?

In June 2010, University of Missouri Health Care implemented eMAR in our hospitals. Although there is no national standard for the use of barcoding and eMAR, we believe the use of eMAR will help us provide safer patient care by double-checking every medication we administer.

What are we doing to improve?

We plan to add a system similar to eMAR in our outpatient clinics, phasing it in throughout 2011.

What can patients and their families do to help?

Patients can also help us to keep them safe by:

  • Ensuring that all health care providers know about everything the patient is taking, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.
  • Notifying doctors, nurses and pharmacists about any allergies or side effects from medications.
  • Asking about medicines -- the name, the dose, the reason for taking it, the side effects and when to take them.
  • Notifying a nurse if you believe a medication might have been missed.

More medication safety measures

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