- Sikeston singer moves on with 'The Voice' (10/16/17)
- Past Rowdy the Redhawk mascot's identity revealed (10/15/17)
- Police chief, council: Cape Girardeau faces growing gun violence (10/17/17)4
- Developer asks court to OK tax district board for improvements near Hobby Lobby (10/17/17)4
- Politics to profits: Brothers launch new investing concept on Wall Street (10/19/17)1
- Load shift kills Jackson trucker (10/17/17)
- The last person to be laid to rest at Old Lorimier Cemetery: Mary Russell Fox (10/17/17)2
- Cape Christian School burglarized (10/18/17)
- Food Giant in Chaffee is robbed (10/17/17)
- Owner of dinosaur relics demands new board of directors, business plan at Bollinger County Museum (10/17/17)
Bar codes next step in patient med care
WASHINGTON -- Inside hospital pharmacies, tiny bar codes just an eighth of an inch tall adorn the blister packs that hold single-pill doses of certain drugs, like Dilantin for seizures and Lipitor for cholesterol.
With a handheld scanner, health-care workers guard against medication mixups by matching each pill's bar code to a hospitalized patient's wristband and medical chart. It is to ensure the right person swallows the right dose of the right drug at the right time. If anything's off, an alarm beeps.
Yet only a few drugs today bear bar codes, and very few hospitals have the scanners needed to read them. That's about to change.
By February, the Food and Drug Administration will issue orders requiring that every medication sold to hospitals soon bear supermarket-style bar codes.
It's a major move that, once fully phased in, is expected to protect many of the estimated 7,000 hospitalized patients who die every year because of drug errors.
The impact promises to go beyond routine drug mistakes. For example, printing a matching bar code for the vial of Mr. Jones' blood before the nurse leaves his bedside guards against mixed up samples and is crucial in ensuring patients receive the right blood type and other test results.
Patients get the wrong blood in one of every 14,000 transfusions, causing at least 20 deaths a year.
"Those are totally preventable tragedies," says Dr. Gerald Sandler, Georgetown University Hospital's transfusion chief. He began pushing for electronic solutions five years ago when his hospital had a near-miss -- two children awaiting transfusions switched seats after the nurses double-checked who was supposed to get which bag of blood. But he says hospitals can't afford the systems unless drug and blood safety are paired.
Also, hospitals can buy bar-code scanners that come with even more sophisticated software that flags patients' allergies and other important information, guiding doctors to prescribe the safest treatment choice.
First-generation bar coding promises to have a huge impact.
Only about 125 of the nation's 5,000-plus hospitals use bar-code systems now, partly because only about 35 percent of their pharmaceutical supplies come with the codes affixed to them, says Russell Lewis of Bridge Medical Inc., a leading manufacturer of bar-code systems.
But when veterans hospitals adopted bar codes -- relabeling their own drugs so they could be electronically identified -- medication errors plummeted.
Commercially, two medication giants are leading the way on bar coding. Last year, Pfizer Inc. figured out how to fit tiny versions of supermarket bar codes on the blister packs of Dilantin, Lipitor and other pills sold to hospitals. Abbott Laboratories first put bar codes on injected drugs and will start selling hospitals bar-coded pills early next year.
By February, the FDA will issue new rules forcing other manufacturers to begin phasing in bar codes on hospital-sold drugs, too.
Hospitals won't be required to use the codes. But the rules do set standards to ensure any scanner will recognize any medicine -- good news for cash-strapped hospitals, says FDA pharmacist Tom McGinnis.
"You can do this with minimal equipment," he says. "You don't have to buy the Cadillac, you can buy the Chevy to make this work."
Hospitals know the change is coming; sales of bar-code systems began rising in recent months, says Lewis. The cost ranges from $200,000 to over $1 million, depending on the hospital's size and the complexity of the system.
00040000001B0000000504131145281120310005000000160000000402143291120300006000001800000000610ÅÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0ÇC00000¬10¬ ¡ ÇÇ¡ÇÇ10ÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0Ç880000¬-22980¬70¬ ¡ ÇÇ¡10000010ÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0Ç880000¬-22980¬30¬ -10¡ÇÇ¡10000020ÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0ÇA00000¬-21500¬10¬ ¡ ÇÇ¡E666020ÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0ÇA00000¬-21500¬10¬ ¡-10¡
|30¡E666030ÅC30ÅÇÇ¡FFFFÅÅ0Ç700000¬10¬ ¡ ÇÇ¡1000000007000001B4000000040ÅÅ¬ÅÇ10¬ Å2440,No Style0100Ç¡30ÅÇÇ733330Ç980000¬ÅÇ10¬ Å2440,||Body Copy0100Ç¡10Å¬A00000¬ÅÇ10¬ Å2440,|
|Byline - Name0300Ç¡10Å¬800000Ç3999A0¬ÅÇ10¬ Å2440,Byline - Title0300Ç¡0008000002620000000440,Geneva40,4030¬1040,||Nimrod MT40,402A960¬1040,B Century Old Style Bold40,403A590¬1040,Century Old Style40,403A5B0¬1000090000001900000002213D11DB213D11DB000A0000001900000002213D11DB213D11DB000B0000003900000002200001300004E00001DB0000200001300004E00001DB0000000C000000290000000112001201Ç52F0000140000461B25200Ç1000F00000026000000005004Ç0¬10¬||ÅÅÇÅÅ¬¡¬¡ÇÇ¡¬00130000005E00000000D791F8CB1C1D1E1F7F1B024,-.¶╣░ş╔.FFFFÅÅ0FFFFÅÅ046700000002800000000d$$$É¨║||©é@46710000015000000000H8No StyleHeadline - Serif 3018e 424673000006E000000000:[ŮŞ ■(`. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U3Headline - Serif 30r featureÚ¢æ®©CC© º Headline - Serif 30r feature╔Ú▓|