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By Beth Greenway, RN Gayco Nurse Consultant

Adverse medical events are estimated at over one million injuries and nearly 100,000 deaths occur every year.  BCMA adds another level of verification into the “5 rights” of medication administration.

I’ve encountered different reactions from nurses when introducing them to and training them on using scanners for medication administration.  Passing medications in LTC can be exhausting and tedious depending on the resident’s cooperation  Some nurses just don’t want to change their routine. Others are excited because they’ve used them in other facilities and realize the benefit.  Some nurses view scanning as more time consuming than just checking the medication off and of course, they claim the scanner doesn’t always work.  It takes a little bit of patience and learning how to aim the scanner but it’s as easy as self-checkout at Wal Mart.

Scanning is really a very simple process.  Gayco packages medications in strip packs that are sent to the facility in cycle fill schedules.  During medication pass, the nurse removes the appropriate pack for the resident, scans the QR stamp in the upper right corner and the scanner reads the information and transmits it to the eMAR.  Every prescription that is sent from our pharmacy can be scanned.  This includes controlled drugs, eye drops, ear drops, nasal spray, insulin, inhalers, and PRN medications.

The added level of verification occurs when medication dosages, times or discontinuation occurs.  The scanner reads all the information about what is contained in the pack and verifies that it is the right resident, the right medication, at the right time, and the right dose while simultaneously documenting the actual administration of the medication(s).

The result of using BCMA is better resident safety.  As nurses, we should strive to do everything in our power to prevent the number of medical injuries and deaths related to medication errors.  That is the big deal about scanning.