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Northwest Medical Center

eMar and Bar Coding

Whenever a medication is given to you in the hospital, it is documented on an MAR (Medication Administration Record) that is stored in your medical record. Until now, this has been manual paper process.

Our facility has implemented an electronic version of the MAR called eMAR. This technology is part of our core pharmacy information system where all aspects about your medication orders are recorded. The critical components of this safety technology are bar coded armbands, bar coded medications, and safety checks within the eMAR & Bar Coding software.

How It works

  • Each patient receives an armband with a bar code. The bar code corresponds to the patient’s current medical record, including drug history, allergies and lab results. Bar code identifiers also appear on shrink-wrapped doses of medication.
  • Before a medication is administered, bar codes on the patient armband and the medication are scanned allowing the nurse or therapist to verify the right patient is receiving the right drug in the right dose at the right time.
  • The software checks each medication against the patient’s drug history and lab results. If conflicts or potential drug interactions are identified, warnings alert the nurse to double check, verify and/or call the doctor before administering the medication

HCA’s results with eMAR have been instrumental in encouraging the FDA to develop a standardized bar code system for use throughout the pharmaceutical industry and at all hospitals to reduce the risk of medication errors that can seriously harm patients.

Benefits of the Technology

  • Reduces medication errors through use of bar code identifiers on the patient armband and medication
  • Makes patient care information readily available to nursing staff during medication administration like critical values and comprehensive allergy and drug interaction information
  • Provides physicians with a comprehensive list of patient medication use