Barcode Scanning

The process of dispensing medication is considered to be relatively accurate, however the high volume of items dispensed through pharmacies each year provides significant opportunity for patient harm. Barcode scanning has been shown to reduce the rate of pharmacy dispensing errors [1].

The implementation of barcode scanning has also been recommended by peak pharmacy bodies such as the Pharmacy Board of Australia; the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia; and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.

The Safety and Quality Guide associated with the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (2017) lists the implementation of barcode scanning as a strategy to improve accuracy in medicine selection and dispensing (under criterion 4.15).

Barcode Scanning Resources for NSW Public Hospitals

Pharmacy Departments

Put Dispensing Errors Behind Bars

The "Put Dispensing Errors Behind Bars" campaign has been developed to provide pharmacy departments with the tools and resources required to raise awareness; review current workflows; and provide pharmacy staff with training so that barcode scanning is implemented in all departments Statewide.

[1] Nanji, KC., Cina, J., Patel, N., Churchill, W., Gandhi, TK., Poon, EG. Overcoming Barriers to the Implementation of a Pharmacy Bar Code Scanning System for Medication Dispensing: A Case Study. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2009;16(5):645-50).