Public Release: 

VHA to measure impact of Bridge barcode patient safety system

Bridge Medical, Inc.

"Under terms of the agreement, VHA will measure the extent of MedPoint's impact on medication-error reduction," explained Don McCall, a group senior vice president at VHA. "To facilitate participation, incentives will be offered to a limited number of VHA members that purchase MedPoint software in time to participate in the study."

Bridge is a California-based information technology (IT) firm that has pioneered the use of barcode technology to promote patient safety. MedPoint is now "live" at half a dozen U.S. hospitals and in various stages of hospital-wide deployment at another 40 or so facilities.

"One of VHA's primary missions is helping members improve the quality of care by increasing access to innovative technologies," explained McCall. "This agreement enables VHA to evaluate MedPoint and better define its impact on medication-error reduction. We also want to better understand MedPoint's compatibility with other IT systems already in use at many hospitals. Knowledge gained from this effort will help VHA members, and ultimately the entire industry, make intelligent, effective choices when selecting and deploying patient safety systems."

The study will begin immediately with completion expected in 2003.

"Recent studies indicate that up to 19 percent of medications were administered incorrectly at the institutions studied," said Bridge President and CEO John B. Grotting. "Up to 7 percent of these errors were potentially harmful."

"With MedPoint, nurses can use technology to help them intercept potential medication administration, blood transfusion and other medical errors at the hospital bedside, dramatically improving patient safety."

Bridge's MedPoint suite of software applications is categorized as barcode-enabled point-of-care (BPOC) technology. Hospitals are now considering implementing computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) systems to help reduce prescription errors. However, Grotting noted, many hospitals are now finding BPOC to be an easier and much less costly starting point for integrating technology into the error-reduction process.

Research shows that almost half of all medication errors that reach a patient occur at the bedside, which is why Bridge targets this segment of the patient encounter for intervention. Published studies also show that BPOC technologies like MedPoint--which help nurses verify they are giving the right patient the right medication and dosage via the right route of administration at the right time-- can prevent more than 80 percent of medication errors.

MedPoint automates medication administration documentation and reporting, and incorporates the most current information available regarding medications and medication administration. Alerts and warnings are given as needed, and potential errors are identified immediately.

Easily integrated into clinician workflow to encourage caregiver acceptance and compliance, MedPoint makes use of an intuitive user interface deployed on portable bedside computing devices that utilize wireless technology to connect to its sophisticated server-based software.

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About VHA
Built on the premise there is strength in numbers, VHA is a nationwide network of 2,200 leading community-owned healthcare organizations and their affiliated physicians. Based in Irving, Tex., with 18 local offices across the U.S., VHA comprises 25 percent of the nation's community hospitals, including many of the nation's largest and most respected institutions. VHA offers member organizations access to products and services that will help them improve financial and clinical performance and achieve market success. As a cooperative, VHA distributes income annually to members based on their participation. Last January, for the third year in a row, Fortune named VHA one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for."

On the Net: VHA site: http://www.vha.com.

About Bridge
Founded in 1996, Bridge Medical Inc. is headquartered in Solana Beach, Calif. Bridge has been honored for its educational initiatives and patient safety solutions, including the Bridge MedPoint software system, which helps hospitals meet one of the new Joint Commission patient safety standards: to improve the accuracy of patient identification. MedPoint was one of the "Smart Designs for Patient Safety" on display last week in Washington, D.C., at the Partnership Symposium 2002 sponsored by VHA and others. On the Net: Bridge Medical site: http://www.bridgemedical.com.

CONTACT:
Bridge Medical, Inc., Carol Somer, 858-314-5538 or 888-578-0100 x5538 (toll-free), 703-593-5786 (cell), .
VHA Inc. Lynn Gentry, 972-830-0798 or lgentry@vha.com.

KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TEXAS
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: COMPUTERS/ELECTRONICS, MEDICAL, MEDICAL DEVICES, PHARMACEUTICAL, SOFTWARE

MedPoint is a trademark of Bridge Medical, Inc. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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