Medication administration

CST will introduce closed loop medication management to acute care settings in VCH, PHSA and PHC.

What is closed loop medication management?

It’s a fully electronic medication management process, in which all relevant information is documented seamlessly. See the diagram at the bottom of the page, or watch a video explaining the process.


Fruzsina Pataky“All the steps of the medication cycle are supported electronically – ordering, verifying, preparing and administering – with decision support where relevant. So it’s all about safety,” explains Fruzsina Pataky, one of the directors of pharmacy at Lower Mainland Consolidated Services. “Closed loop medication management requires four things: an active medication order; an electronically-identified provider (nurse); a barcoded drug; and an electronically-identified patient.”

Care providers will enter orders directly into the computer (computerized provider order entry), so they’re transmitted directly to the pharmacy for verification and dispensing.

“At the pharmacy end, we’ll break down medications into single doses, which are barcoded. We won’t have bottles of medicines anymore; we’ll have individual, pre-measured doses,” says Fruzsina.

Most patients will also have barcodes on their armbands. Each medication order will be linked to the patient’s barcode and the medication barcode. This is to make sure that the right patient gets the right dose of the right medication, at the right time and by the right route (oral, IV, etc.). Scanning the barcodes will result in the right documentation being entered into the clinical information system.

How else does it help patients?

“No more legibility issues,” replies Fruzsina immediately. “Deciphering handwriting in the paper-based system is a huge issue for us. Also, there’ll be reduced turnaround. At the moment, the medication order sits in a chart until it is faxed, and can sit on fax machines or desks until it’s picked up and processed. Closed loop medication management means clinicians will be able to receive and review orders online. Again, it’s the patient who ultimately benefits.”

Did you know?

Studies have shown that after introducing closed loop medication management or barcoded medication administration, there was a:

  2. GE Healthcare
  3. Microsoft, Closing the Loop in Medication Management: Why an integrated, closed-loop solution is vital for hospitals, April 2009

Closed loop medication management explained

Download the article Closed loop medication management for the safety win (PDF).