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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2 (2011), Issue 4, Pages 527-538
Research Article

Evaluation of Medication Administration Process: Tools and Techniques

Rita Snyder,1 Nathan Huynh,2 Bo Cai,3 and Abbas S. Tavakoli1

1College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
2Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
3Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Health care safety improvement focuses on redesign of high-risk health care processes such as the medication administration process (MAP) to enhance safety and reduce errors. A key limitation of MAP redesign efforts is the lack of validated tools by which to accurately record process observations. This paper discusses a pilot study conducted to develop and evaluate a handheld device application for recording observations of oral MAP functions and tasks. The aim of the study was to leverage existing technology to develop an observation recording device comparable to handwritten recordings commonly used to document workflow observations in health care settings. Device recordings were statistically compared to handwritten recordings of the same MAP functions and tasks. Findings provided preliminary evidence that handheld device recordings were consistent with handwritten recordings for documenting task duration but not task sequence. Interruptions were not examined due to insufficient data and additional research is needed.