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The objective of this project was to ensure correct radiopharmaceutical administration through the use of a bar code system that links patient and drug profiles with on-site information management systems. This new combined system would minimize the amount of manual human manipulation, which has proven to be a primary source of error. The most common reason for dosing errors is improper patient identification when a dose is obtained from the nuclear pharmacy or when a dose is administered. A standardized electronic transfer of information from radiopharmaceutical preparation to injection will further reduce the risk of misadministration. Value stream maps showing the flow of the patient dose information, as well as potential points of human error, were developed. Next, a future-state map was created that included proposed corrections for the most common critical sites of error. Transitioning the current process to the future state will require solutions that address these sites. To optimize the future-state process, a bar code system that links the on-site radiology management system with the nuclear pharmacy management system was proposed. A bar-coded wristband connects the patient directly to the electronic information systems. The bar code-enhanced process linking the patient dose with the electronic information reduces the number of crucial points for human error and provides a framework to ensure that the prepared dose reaches the correct patient. Although the proposed flowchart is designed for a site with an in-house central nuclear pharmacy, much of the framework could be applied by nuclear medicine facilities using unit doses. An electronic connection between information management systems to allow the tracking of a radiopharmaceutical from preparation to administration can be a useful tool in preventing the mistakes that are an unfortunate reality for any facility.


John L Hakala, Joseph C Hung, Elton A Mosman. Minimizing human error in radiopharmaceutical preparation and administration via a bar code-enhanced nuclear pharmacy management system. Journal of nuclear medicine technology. 2012 Sep;40(3):183-6

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PMID: 22669938

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