The Five "Rights"

Barcodes ensures the ‘Five Rights’

Medication errors can be avoided by using barcode technology in bedside medication. Barcodes ensure the ‘Five Rights’ of the patients i.e. the right patient gets the right medication in the right dose through the right route at the right time.

Right Patient

Barcode scanning on patient’s wristbands using handheld barcode scanners enables to identify the right patient according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) guidelines. The wristbands with barcodes given at the admission point are vital in tracking the right patient throughout the treatment period in the hospital.

Right Medication

Scanning the barcode label on the medications prescribed to a patient enables accurate treatment. In many cases, the ID of the administering nurse is also scanned to check the nurse’s authority to dispense the medication to the patient. This avoids administering wrong drugs to a patient.

Right Dose

Confirming the right dose being given to the patients is more complex than ensuring the right medication is administered. The medicine dose administered is prone to change at least in small quantities during the treatment period. Recording data using barcodes can help in maintaining the consistency in the dose administered. This avoids further complications and side effects by reducing overdose medications.

Right Method of Administration (route)

Right method of administration means administering the prescribed drug using the right method such as pills, syrup or intravenous medication. This may also include special instructions such as taking medication along with food or other supplements. Using barcodes will help in reducing the avoidable mistakes that might happen when the information is not properly shared and coordinated.

Right Time

The schedule of medication and the time interval is vital in medical administration. Especially when there is a situation where a missed or late medication has to follow a revised schedule of medication. In such situations, barcode technology will help to maintain the consistency by having the accurate information.


Ryan Busse



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