Bar code technology and medication administration error

Judith Young, Maribeth Slebodnik, Laura Sands

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Medication administration error (MAE) remains a patient safety concern. Few studies have investigated the impact of bar-coded technology on medication error reduction during the medication administration process at the bedside in acute care settings. The purpose and focus of this systematic review is to determine whether implementation of the Bar Code Medication Administration System (BCMA) is associated with declines in MAE rate. Findings from this systematic review reveal varied findings between studies and among the 5 rights of medication administration (right drug, right time, right patient, right dose, and right route) in general. Although BCMA did not consistently decrease the overall incidence of MAE, the technology did identify categories of medication errors not previously detected with the traditional 5 rights approach. The opportunity to analyze the additional categories of MAE identified by BCMA has implications for patient safety and is perhaps the most significant contribution of this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • 5 rights
  • Bar code technology
  • Error reduction
  • Medication administration
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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