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Bar Coding Identification

With an estimated 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries in hospitals a year, resulting in $3.5 billion in unnecessary medical costs, Beaumont made medication error prevention a strategic imperative for improving patient safety, quality and cost at its three hospitals.


Using a phased-in approach, leaders of Beaumont's IT, nursing, pharmacy and quality departments worked together to roll-out the medication barcoding implementation - from scanning incoming pharmaceutical products to training nursing staff. They began with Beaumont, Grosse Pointe, followed by Beaumont, Troy and lastly at Beaumont, Royal Oak.


Now each Beaumont patient has a unique bar code that only exists on their wristband, which helps to protect the integrity of the positive patient identification and medication barcode process. The system also alerts the nurse if the medication order is expired, discontinued, or if it's the wrong medication or the wrong patient.


This systemwide safety initiative helped to prevent a total of 23,500 potential drug errors from December 2011 through July 2012.


The ambitious project was recognized with a 2012 Transformational Leadership Award, sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Hospital Association.