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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 17, 2004

New UI Hospitals And Clinics Technology To Enhance Medication Safety

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics leaders announced today that they have agreed to purchase the MedPoint system that will allow nurses to electronically scan bar codes on medications at the patient's bedside prior to administration to prevent errors.

The system also includes an electronic medication administration and documentation record providing additional safety features. UI Hospitals and Clinics is among a small percentage of hospitals in the nation to employ this new patient safety technology.

Paul Abramowitz, Pharm.D., director of the Department of Pharmaceutical Care at UI Hospitals and Clinics and assistant dean of the UI College of Pharmacy, noted, "The hospital's investment in this technology further demonstrates its commitment to patient safety." He went on to say, "The Department of Pharmaceutical Care has utilized bar code checks in the dispensing of medication for several years and the use of bar codes at the point of medication administration will further minimize the potential of a medication error occurring at the bedside." 

The new system will employ a bar code on the nurse's identification badge, a bar code on the patient identification wristband and a bar code on every dose of medication. The nurse will use the bar code on his or her identification badge to identify themselves, and the patient's wristband bar code to bring up the patient's medication profile. The bar code on the medication must then be scanned and be identified as the correct medication and dose for the patient at that particular time. If the information is not correct, the nurse will be alerted and will not administer the medication. In addition, the system will also provide the nurse with additional pertinent safety information about the prescribed medication.

"This new system is an important step towards improving medication safety in addition to strengthening UI Hospitals and Clinics' status as a Magnet hospital," said to Linda Q. Everett, Ph.D., chief nursing officer. UI Hospitals and Clinics earned designation as a Magnet hospital earlier this year in recognition of nursing excellence.

Lee Carmen, chief information officer, said, "The system will use the hospital's wireless network to allow providers to go to the bedside with portable computers and bar code scanners. The system will provide tools to improve communication between health care providers, nurses, physicians and pharmacists and further improve the patient care process through improved information management."

UI Hospitals and Clinics leaders project that the MedPoint system, manufactured by Bridge Medical, an AmerisourceBergen company, will be piloted on a patient care unit in early 2005 and will subsequently be implemented on all inpatient care units.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,