Ongoing medication safety initiatives support Island Health's goal of implementing a closed-loop medication system across the health authority. The closed-loop system allows the patient, medication and caregiver to be verified before treatment is administered. In this system, physicians enter medication orders electronically, the information is confirmed by bar-code scanning, and a comprehensive electronic health record is created and updated automatically.
Foundational to implementing a closed-loop medication system is the provision of medications using a bar-coded unit dose that is ready to administer directly to the patient by a nurse or other health care provider. Along with electronic medication order entry and bar-coded positive patient identification, Island Health's medication system will result in world-class care for our patients.
The closed-loop medication system is a key element of a safer medication administration system.
The right medication is given to the right patient at the right time by having health care providers scan the medication bar code and then scan the patient's identification band while signed onto the patient's electronic medical chart, confirming an active medication order.
Bar-coded patient identification bands have been implemented regionally. Bar-coding unit-dosed medications (individual doses of patient medication prepared by the pharmacy) is the next phase in the journey to a fully bar-coded system. Unit-dosed packaged medications are used to maintain the integrity of the medication from pharmacy to patient, ensuring the right patient is getting the right dosage.
Currently, Island Health sites are at different stages of implementing bar-coded unit-dosed medications. Sites have some unit-dosed medications and Island Health is working toward a standardized system for preparing and distributing bar-coded medications for all medications to all sites.
The use of bar-coded medications brings Island Health a major step closer to the closed-loop medication system, improving the level of quality care and safety for our patients.