BMV/eMAR Project Update


By Kenny Whitside, BSN, RN 
A report published by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 shocked the nation as it concluded that there are approximately 7,000 deaths each year directly attributed to preventable medication errors.  Many of these errors occur in healthcare environments and involve competent professional nurses and pharmacists.  This report has served as a catalyst for the development and implementation of electronic systems whose purpose is to prevent such errors through the use of bar code technology.

Catawba Valley Medical Center has used Meditech as our healthcare information system for many years.  Meditech has developed the Bedside Medication Verification (BMV) and Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) Modules to work hand-in-hand to provide both a secondary electronic safety check as well as for documentation of medication administration.  While the software has been available for several years, our Clinical Information Systems staff recognized that many facilities had attempted to implement bar code verification systems with limited success.  Many of these partial failures were related to the lack of adequate information systems resources.   CVMC has resisted the urge to rush to implement BMV/eMAR pending necessary improvements to our IS Infrastructure.

On Nov. 1st, 2011 the Inpatient Rehab Unit became our BMV/eMAR pilot unit.  This initiative has been well received and encountered few problems.  On Feb. 13th, 2012 the PACU unit also began use of BMV/eMAR in an effort to pave the way for a smooth implementation of the Med/Surg. units.    On March 27th, 2012, this important safety initiative will begin to be used on all of our Med/Surg. Units, Pediatrics, Oncology and by our Respiratory Department for patients in those areas.


The administration of a medication to a patient is the single most dangerous event that occurs in our hospital with such regularity.  It is important to note that while the use of bar code technology can provide significant improvements in the safety of such a dangerous activity, the technology is not fail-proof!  The process of administering medications which begins with the ordering provider, includes the pharmacy staff and then the nurse/therapist all the way to the bedside, will still require diligence by everyone to minimize error.  However, the proper use of the BMV/eMAR modules of Meditech are expected to provide one final safety net in an attempt to prevent human error at the last moment possible, immediately before a patient receives a potentially harmful/fatal medication error.