Association between workarounds and medication administration errors in bar-code-assisted medication administration in hospitals.
Workarounds occur frequently in health care and can compromise patient safety. In this prospective study, researchers observed 5793 medication administrations to 1230 inpatients in Dutch hospitals using barcode-assisted medication administration (BCMA). Workarounds occurred in about two-thirds of medication administrations. They found a significant association between workarounds and medication administration errors. The most frequently observed medication administration errors included omissions, administration of drugs not actually ordered, and dosing errors. The authors suggest that BMCA merits further evaluation to ensure that implementation of this technology promotes safety effectively. A past PSNet perspective discussed workarounds on the front line of health care.