RCMC uses barcode technology to enhance patient safety


LEBANON, Va. - Mountain States Health Alliance recently deployed electronic barcode technology at Russell County Medical Center.

The technology, called the Medication Administration Check (MAK) system, is a computer system that improves patient safety when giving medicine to patients. Barcodes located on patient armbands and medications are scanned to help make sure that the "five rights" of medication administration are followed: right drug, right dose, right route, right time and right patient.

"While RCMC team members use the 'five rights', the MAK system adds an additional layer of safety in the medication administration process," said Melinda Honaker, assistant administrator/CNO for RCMC. "This includes nurses, physicians, hospital pharmacy team members and more."

When a physician writes an order for medication for a patient, that order goes to the hospital pharmacy, where a pharmacist inputs the order into the MAK system. A nurse, using a MAK workstation on a computer cart, scans his or her badge, then the barcode on each of the patient's medications. The system alerts the nurse that the medicine does or does not match the doctor's order. If it does, the nurse then scans the patient's armband, which lets the nurse and the MAK system know that this patient is the correct one for this medication.

"The MAK system is one more way Mountain States Health Alliance is making health care safer," said Eddie Greene, AVP/administrator at RCMC. "It is exciting to know that this technology is available at our community hospital right here in Lebanon."
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