A pioneer in patient safety, Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) was looking to decrease the odds of medication errors by implementing an automated process for preparing and administering prescription medications.

After researching several solutions, BWH decided to implement a system using barcode scanning to track and record pharmaceuticals from the time they are processed in the pharmacy until they are administered to the patient.  The hospital relied on printers from Zebra Technologies to produce individual two-dimensional barcode labels for more than 3.5 million pharmaceuticals per year.

As a result, the system has prevented errors when prescriptions are entered, filled and dispensed.  Barcode data entry and computerized controls also provide accurate, up-to-date records that improved BWH pharmaceutical tracking and inventory management.  The hospital has seen a dramatic improvement in error reduction in the pharmacy since implementing the barcode system.  Overages in filling prescriptions, for example, have almost been eliminated.

BWH is most excited about the opportunity to focus on future innovation.

With a two-dimensional symbology, BWH looks forward to a range of possibilities and applications.  One in particular is coding IV pumps with information such as the patient’s ID, weight, concentration of the medication, and more.

Read the full case study of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Barcode Case Study: Brigham and Women’s Hospital Keeps Patient Safety Top-of-Mind
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