IDX to integrate wireless barcode medication charting into Carecast and LastWord

Burlington 13 May 2002IDX Systems Corporation has introduced wireless barcode capabilities, used for medication administration and electronic charting with its Carecast and LastWord clinical information systems. Barcode charting helps prevent medication errors by confirming that the right dose of the right drug is being administered to the right patient via the right route at the right time, and alerting the nurse at the time of administration if there are any discrepancies.


"Integrating this capability into our clinical information systems further demonstrates the IDX commitment to Advancing Fail-Safe Care", stated Larry Krassner, President of the Integrated Solutions Division of IDX. "In addition to computerised physician order entry (CPOE) and a fully integrated pharmacy system, Carecast and LastWord now incorporate barcode medication charting, which adds yet another layer of safeguards to help prevent medication errors."

Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (LVHHN), based in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is the first IDX customer to purchase the barcode charting module. LVHHN is also in the process of implementing enterprise-wide CPOE at its three hospital sites, supported by LastWord, for which it recently was recognised by The Leapfrog Group.

"Lehigh Valley Hospital has been a regional expert in patient safety initiatives. So far we have had good success with our roll-out of CPOE", stated Harry Lukens, LVHHN's CIO. "Bar code charting is a natural extension of CPOE, and with an integrated system in place the information can flow seamlessly from module to module, without the need for complex interfaces."

To utilise barcode charting, each unit dose of medication, including every IV, receives a barcode before it leaves the pharmacy. Clinicians will be equipped with wireless scanners with which to scan the codes on the medication tag and the patient's ID bracelet. Because the module fully integrates with both Carecast and LastWord, scanning the tags automatically enters the drug, dose, and time of administration in the patient's chart. Real time charting ensures a more accurate record than entering the information manually at intervals during or at the end of a shift, and also gives nurses and other clinicians more time for direct patient care.

"Combining computer assisted physician order entry and barcode technology with the professional skills of our pharmacy and nursing staff will enhance the safety of our medication processes and improve the quality of care delivered to our patients", explained Terry Capuano, R.N., LVHHN's senior vice president of clinical services.

A 1999 study by the National Institute of Medicine concluded that as many as 98.000 deaths a year are caused by medication errors in the United States alone. CPOE has been recognised as a critical tool in preventing medication errors at the time of prescribing. It also eliminates the need for transcription, removing another potential source of error. Automated pharmacy systems can prevent errors in dispensing. Barcode charting provides safeguards at the time of medication administration, the last stage in the medication cycle, and the second most likely place for errors to occur.

Founded in 1969, IDX Systems Corporation provides information technology solutions to maximise value in the delivery of health care, improve the quality of patient service, enhance medical outcomes, and reduce the costs of care. IDX supports these objectives with a broad range of complementary and functionally rich products installed at 3200 client sites. Customers include 134.000 physicians who utilise practice management systems to improve patient care and other work flow processes.

IDX Systems are installed at:

  • 370 Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) representing more than 660 hospitals
  • 175 large group practices with more than 200 physicians
  • 635 mid-size group practices with less than 200 physicians

The IDX web strategy includes browser technology, e-commerce and Web-based tools, built using Internet architecture, which facilitates access for patients, physicians, and care providers to vital health information and data managed by the IDX clinical, administrative, financial, and managed care products. EDiX Corporation, an IDX subsidiary, offers medical transcription and clinical documentation services to physicians groups and hospital customers. IDX has approximately 4755 full-time employees.

Carecast represents the next generation of electronic clinical information solutions, delivering unsurpassed response time and reliability to support fast-paced clinical environments. The system automates work flow throughout the health care enterprise and enables rapid access to patient records across the care continuum, from admission to discharge, including pharmacy and ambulatory care. It integrates core clinical processes for orders, results, pharmacy, and clinical documentation with administrative and financial processes for scheduling, registration, admitting, charging, and billing.

The result is a comprehensive lifetime patient record that enhances the quality of care and promotes operational efficiencies. Developed by and for providers, Carecast builds on 25 years of innovation with the IDX LastWord enterprise clinical system. More information on barcode technology is available in the VMW article Eisenhower Memorial Hospital applies Bridge's barcode technology to prevent medication and transfusion errors.

Leslie Versweyveld

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