How Helpful Barcodes in Medication Administration System

In healthcare centers, the use of medications is very sensitive and vulnerable to human errors such as exhaustion, workload, carelessness, lack of experience and concentration, etc. These errors cause serious harm to the patients and put their lives at risk.

So, to resolve all these errors, there is a need for an advanced medical management system in the healthcare centers and for this Barcode Medication Administration System is introduced. Barcodes are very helpful for pharmaceutical centers. It prevents unnecessary pharmaceutical errors and establishes a patient safety environment.The BCMA system's main objective is to ensure that the right patient receives the right medicines to preserve the five rights of medication administration.

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The Five Rights of Barcode Medication Administration:
  • Right Patient

  • Right Medication

  • Right Time

  • Right Dosage

  • Right Route


Bar Code Medication Administration is an advanced system that lowers the possibility of manual mistakes in the delivery of medicines by labeling them through barcodes. It validates pharmaceuticals through a computer system to ensure that patients are getting the appropriate medical doses at the correct intervals.

In 1995, the Colmery-O'Neil Veteran medical institution created the Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA) system. A nurse Glenna Sue Kinnick came up with the concept after being inspired by barcodes in the automobile rental system.

Barcodes are used by BCMA on medicines, patients’ wristbands, medical devices, and equipment. The implementation of barcode medicine delivery results in an error reduction of 40 to 70% in medical administration.

How does Barcode Healthcare Management System Works

There is a requirement of a total of five things to set up a complete Barcode Healthcare Management System that is – a computer/laptop, a server, software, a barcode scanner, and a barcode printer.

The details of the patient’s medicines are stored in their computer system and delivered to the medical staff. A nurse read the barcode attached to the patient’s wristband with the help of a barcode scanner before giving the remedy. This band contains all required patient information, including personal information and received treatment. The patient can receive the correct medicines if the system matches with the prescription. This cross-checking helps in the verification of patient records and ensures proper medicine administration.

Need of Barcodes in Pharmaceutical Distribution

Barcodes are needed in the pharmaceutical distribution to ensure the accurate treatment of the patients. There are some following points that describe the requirement of barcodes in healthcare-

  • right patient
    Medication to Right Patient

    There is a possibility that the nurse gives the medication to the wrong patient due to some minor mistakes. With the patient’s wristband barcodes, they ensure the correct patient's details and their respective prescriptions.

  • medication misread
    Avoid Medication Misreads

    Sometimes, the chemist misreads the medicine names and the wrong medicine is delivered to the patients. By scanning the barcode labels of patient wristbands and medications, correct medicines can be easily identified.

  • medicine dosage
    Proper Medicine Dosage

    Sometimes, it also happens the nurse gives the incorrect dosage to the patient due to lack of concentration. With the barcodes, she can obtain the accurate dosage information of the medications by scanning a label present on them.

Benefits of Barcode Medical Distribution System

  • Alert Notifications

    With the barcodes, it is simple to keep track of the patient’s medical history. The system can rapidly notify of allergic reactions if occurs in a patient through medications. Additionally, the nurses can be notified of missed doses and medicine expiration dates.

  • Enhance Patient Safety

    Due to some medical mistakes, the patient's treatment may take a very long time and his life may also be in danger. Barcode Medication Administration System can improve patient safety by providing accurate and fast medical treatment to them.

  • Improve Work Performance

    Healthcare professionals can do better care of patients and manage their precious time more efficiently rather than worrying about the prescription mistakes. This will improve their work performance to greater extent which results in better efficiency.

  • Better Inventory Management

    Barcode Medical Distribution System can be designed to make audit reports and data in order to alert possible inventory requirements. Just like every other sector, barcodes can be used in hospitals to manage inventories and assets in better way.