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Staggers N, Iribarren S, Guo JW, Weir C. Evaluation of a BCMA's Electronic Medication Administration Record. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 2015 Jul 1; 37(7):899-921.
Barcode medication administration (BCMA) systems can reduce medication errors, but sociotechnical issues are quite common. Although crucial to nurses' work, few usability evaluations are available for electronic medication administration record (eMARs) screens. The purpose of this research was to identify current usability problems in the Veterans Administration's (VA) eMAR/BCMA system and explore how these might affect nurses' situation awareness (SA). Three expert evaluators used 10 tasks/elements, heuristic evaluation techniques, and explored potential impacts using a SA perspective. The results yielded 99 usability problems categorized into 440 heuristic violations with the largest volume in the category of Match With the Real World. Fifteen usability issues were rated as catastrophic with the Administer/Chart medications task having the most. Situational awareness was affected at all levels, especially at Level 2, Comprehension. Usability problems point to important areas for improvement, because these issues have the potential to affect nurses' SA, "at a glance" information, nurse productivity, and patient safety.