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Can barcoded meds protect Oregonians from hospital negligence?


Pharmaceutical drugs are a powerful tool in treating medical conditions. They can reduce symptoms, ease pain and even remedy some medical issues. It is common for Oregon patients to go to the hospital and be given or prescribed medication. Many of these individuals take pills, injections and syrups without much thought, showing their deep-seeded trust in their doctor. Unfortunately, though, medication errors are all too common, putting Oregonians in harm's way.

The good news is medical professionals are attempting to remedy the problem. A recently published study assessed the effectiveness of barcoding technology with regards to medication administration. The system synchronizes barcoded medications with electronic medication administration records in an effort to reduce errors caused by manually written and entered prescriptions. The study found slight decreased in the number of medication errors when the barcoding system was implemented. In one emergency room where the technology was implemented, accuracy rates rose from 86% to 95% after the technology had been in use for one year.

Though this study is a step in the right direction and sound promising, the fact remains that medication errors continue and will continue into the foreseeable future. When a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a prescribed drug, the results can be catastrophic. A patient may be left with serious injuries, a worsened medical condition, permanent disability, or death.

In order to recover from harm caused by hospital negligence, a victim may need long-term care. Such care can be quite expensive, adding to the emotional turmoil thrust upon the victim. A victim can seek relief, though, in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit. If a doctor or nurse is found to have been negligent in administering medication, and that negligence caused the victim harm, then compensation may be awarded. Such recoveries may help the victim pay his or her medical expenses and ease his or her pain and suffering. Also, such a lawsuit may push the medical community to find a solution to this problem quicker.

Source: Pharmacy Times, "Barcoding Technology May Improve Medication Accuracy," Aimee Simone, April 16, 2014

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