According to research carried out by our partner Zebra, medical errors are the third most common causes of death in our hospitals.* They also cost the NHS £ millions every year. Patient safety begins with clear, positive identification at the point of admission and continues throughout the hospital journey to discharge. Here’s five areas of patient care that can be improved with the introduction of barcode technology, whilst creating efficiencies and protecting patient rights at the same time.
1) Patient Identification
Whether it’s routine surgery or an arrival via A&E, positive patient ID is the cornerstone for all subsequent patient care processes and procedures. Barcode solutions, including tamperproof patient wristbands, clearly identify your patient and enable immediate access to critical information at the bedside and across all hospital departments. By also integrating patient records, our ID solutions allow medical staff and carers to easily access and add information to a patient's electronic health record and make safer, better informed decisions.
2) Specimen Collection
Wrongly labelled samples can result in misdiagnosis, slow down treatment and even lead to incorrect and potentially life threatening treatments being carried out. With the help of mobile devices and printers, your team can print labels at the bedside or hospital department and perform an instant three-point safety check: requested specimen, patient ID and correctly labelled container.
3) Administration of medicines
Here’s an area where barcode scanners can really improve patient safety and increase efficiency. The traditional administration of medicines from the trolley involves multiple steps and checks that take considerable time but are still susceptible to human error. The National Patient Safety Agency estimated that medication errors cost the NHS as much as £770 million per year due to the cost of admissions for adverse drug reactions and harm caused by incorrectly administered medicines during inpatient stays. Armed with a mobile computer with barcode scanning capability, nurses can easily scan the patient’s wristband, scan the prescribed medication and also their own ID card in seconds – ensuring that the right patient receives the right dose of medication at the right time and there is an all-important accountability trail.
4) Pharmacy management
A study by Cranshaw et al. (2009)* revealed that drug-related medical errors cost the NHS Trusts in England £5 million from 1995 to 2007 in terms of litigation costs. With barcode solutions you can improve all areas of medication management, from inventory management to regulatory compliance to dispensing prescriptions. The benefits include: the ability to add tailored, variable data to every drug at the unit-dose level against the prescription (ensuring the correct medication in the correct dosage is administered to the correct patient); reduced medication dispensing errors; improved inventory management and regulatory compliance and; access to vital patient information and medical prognosis to support the five rights of medication administration: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.
5) Laboratory Management
Research in the US suggest that sample errors cost between $200 and $400 million per year as well as potentially life threatening delays in treatment. By barcoding all samples when they’re taken or in the lab, the need for manual data entry is eliminated, saving time (or spending more time on analysis) and reducing errors and costs.
*CRITICAL MOVEMENT WORLDWIDE IN HEALTHCARE Chris Sullivan, Healthcare Director, Zebra Global Marketing Strategy Team, 2017