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Karen Southard of Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, describes
the many changes required for her hospital to implement bar coded meds
administration. She provides great background on the changes that
impact nursing, physicians, pharmacy and management. Important
technology considerations are also discussed:

Most
important for a successful implementation is the involvement of both
the IT department and the clinical staff from the beginning. A thorough
assessment of the organization's readiness for implementation as well
as IT capacity will avoid frustrating setbacks during the go-live phase.

This
aspect created several challenges for us in the early portion of our
implementation plan. Soon after the first few units had gone live, it
was discovered that the server capacity needed immediate expansion
before the process could continue. Another technology glitch involved
“dead zones” in some areas of the nursing unit requiring additional
antennas for transmitting information.

The
selection of the equipment and testing it in the environment of care on
all shifts is very important. Dim lighting to make the patient care
units less stimulating made reading the scanners difficult. In
addition, the small font size on the scanner resulted in many of the
staff needing to purchase reading glasses. Although a small issue, it
still created turmoil during this time of change. Thorough planning and
keeping the timeline flexible will allow for attention to details and a
time for staff to adjust.