Clement J. McDonald, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
McDonald CJ. Corporate Strategies for Computerization. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:395-396. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-5-200609050-00022
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(5):395-396.
I thank Drs. Wu and Shah for their thoughtful letter. Just to be clear, I was not criticizing bar-code systems in general. Bar coding is the perfect solution for many identification problems, for example, the identification of groceries at the checkout counter; we all appreciate the resultant faster checkout times. My criticism was limited to bar-coding systems used to verify medication dispensing at the bedside. Both published reports and recent conversations with disappointed CEOs suggest that these systems have not delivered the nursing time savings and error elimination they promised. Furthermore, they appear to change nursing priorities—an unintended consequence. I am sure that with time and improved technology these systems will meet their mark, but the available evidence contradicts the frothy hype for rushing to implement these systems today.
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