West Virgina hospitals roll out barcode IT for medication

CHARLESTON, WV—All eight facilities in West Virginia's network of acute, psychiatric and long-term care hospitals have now rolled out barcode technology for medication administration.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Medsphere provided Continuum Care with secure access to the state's OpenVista electronic health record network so that the Barboursville, W.Va.-based pharmacy could provide services to five West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources facilities: John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center, Welch Long Term Care, Lakin Hospital, Pinecrest Hospital and Hopemont Hospital.

An onsite, state-run pharmacy works with the state's other three facilities, Welch Community Hospital, Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital and William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital.

"The implementation of the barcode solution in West Virginia's diverse network of facilities, including those contracting with an outside pharmacy, demonstrates OpenVista's ability to easily integrate with all kinds of healthcare IT programs," said Michael J. Doyle, president and CEO of Medsphere.

He said barcode technology is designed to ensure that every patient gets the right medication with the right dose at the right time.

By capturing patient data and improving the information available to staff at the point of care, barcode technology safeguards how patients receive medication. Each patient wears a wristband containing a medical record number, which identifies him or her and one's pharmaceutical requirements through electronic medication administration records.

Vital medication information—such as dosage, allergies and administration times—can be accessed for the patient. Continuum Care supplies medications and uses patient records to verify all pharmacy orders.

"The goal of the barcode implementation was to provide these five long-term facilities with the same patient care and safety as those facilities that have an in-house pharmacy," said Laurie Larson, Medsphere's pharmacy lead analyst for the project. "We were able to integrate the barcode solution with Continuum Care so that all of West Virginia's facilities could be on the same page."

Medsphere implemented the OpenVista EHR at all eight of West Virginia's acute, psychiatric and long-term care facilities in 2008. The state has integrated barcode medication administration technology to create a secure and nearly paperless system uniting all state-owned healthcare facilities and outside contractors.

"We're excited with Medsphere's quick turnaround in implementing this pharmacy program," said Jerry Luck, director of facilities system administration for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and project manager for the OpenVista program. "Medsphere had a potentially Goliath task in integrating an outside pharmacy with the state's network of healthcare facilities, but they accomplished this quickly and smoothly."

OpenVista is the commercialized version of the VistA EHR, created and developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over more than 20 years.