New Bar-Code Technology At Medical Center Hospital

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The next time you need medication at Medical Center Hosptial don't be surprised if a nurse asks you to hold out your arm. This month, nurses started using a new bar-code technology to make sure the right medicines get to the right patients.

"All that information is right there on the computer so they don't have to go back out to the nursing unit and gather that information from a paper chart," Sharon Nash, the Horizon Admin-Rx project manager, said.

Its a new way to help patients at Medical Center Hosptial. Nurses told NewsWest 9 "Admin Rx" is all based on bar codes.

"It's a system that allows us to scan the patient's ID ban, and that will pull positive patient identification up on the computer system," Nash explained.

That means instant updates throughout the hospital, and specific instructions for each patient. All to make sure there is never a mix up.

"If they send two 10 miligrams tablets for one 20 miligram tablet, it will not let the nurse give it, so the only drug that can be given to the patient is whoever has been profiled in the pharmacy department," Nash said.

"It starts in the pharmacy," Judy Ramey, the Director of the Pharamacy, added. "When we get an order in, we bar code the drugs coming in to make sure they'll read. Then as the pharmacists enters orders, it goes on the profile that shows up with what the nurses sees."

The work to get bar codes on everything has taken more than a year, but with a McKesson Robot to help organize all the medicines and a computer-based system already in place, there are no major problems so far.

"So now, we have it right at our fingertips, which again, let's us do our job quicker so we have much more time to spend with the patient and evaluating their situation and meeting their needs," Ramey said.

On Tuesday, officials at Medical Center Hospital said nurses and doctors are now using the new bar code system on two floors, but there is already a plan in place to expand it to even more departments.