Improving the quality of patient care and safety and decreasing operational costs are the key issues facing healthcare Professionals today. Increasingly, Hospital and Hospital Pharmacies are investing in Barcode Technology to improve efficiency in key areas of data entry.
"300 deaths a year. Thats a conservative estimate" reported Jim Bracken of GS1 Ireland when speaking about bar-coding and healthcare recently. A figure Jim reports represents the number of people believed to die each year in Ireland from medication errors. Errors, we believe, could be avoided through the proper use and installation of barcode technology.
Barcoding in the Healthcare Profession
Barcoding applications are at the forefront of patient safety today. This technology excels at improving efficiency and eliminating human error in such areas as medication administration, drug dispensing, patient record data entry
Barcodes used on Patient Identification Wristbands or medical records can store such information as Patient Name, Age, Religion, Date of Admission, Drugs administered, Dose Required, Consultant Attending, Next of Kin, Previous Medical Records. Such information is necessary for the correct administration of care to the patient and ensures visibility of patient data to the healthcare professional when and where it may be required.
Minimise Medication Error with Automatic Data Collection
Medication errors. are the single most preventable cause of patient injury (Source: Medication Errors Volume 7 No.3 2001). However, It is believed that 5% of medications administered by doctors turns out to be wrongly applied, not all our fatal but the dangers are clear" (Source: An Organisation with a Memory. Department of Health. HMSO London, 2000).
Using barcodes at the point of patient care is an important component in eliminating errors. The occurrence of medication errors can compromise confidence in the healthcare sector. This can lead to increased healthcare costs namely the awarding of claims from litigation cases, increased patient stay due to adverse effects and staff downtime. In the USA, it has been estimated that the cost of adverse drug events, a proportion of which due to medication errors, was $5.6 million per year for a 700 bed teaching hospital (Source: Medication Errors Volume 7 No.3 2001).
Scanning patient records or record number at bedside will ensure healthcare professionals can see the drug required, dose required and to which patient it should be administered. Using automatic data capture within the healthcare sector can ensure the five rights of patient safety i.e. right patient, right medication, right dose, at the right time and administered in the right way. Using scanning and automatic data collection eliminates misadministration of drugs due to misinterpretation of hand writing and numbers/dosage on medical record for example.
Chart Tracking and Barcoding
Barcode technology is playing an increasingly important role in the identification of medical charts. One of the most critical aspects in managing the medical records is knowing exactly where a chart is at any given time and making sure its ready for the healthcare provider when needed. Using barcode symbologies and a sophisticated scanning solution with imaging technology ensures you can track both complete and incomplete medical records and can log the retrieval of a chart from a physical location and the assignment of a new location for it in the system. Using a barcode ensures you eliminate duplicate patient data entry.
Operational Savings and Flexibility
With the effective use of barcodes, hospitals/ medical centres can easily trace medicines, patients, supplies and samples using barcode technology. At the moment, it is estimated that 30% of a junior doctors and nurses time is tied up in handling paperwork. "Thirty percent of a doctors time is thirty percent they can't spend treating patients and giving them a good service" remarks Jim Bracken of GS1 Ireland. Automatic data capture solutions can help eliminate the need for paper based tracking systems- which is both time consuming and error prone.
Automatic data capture solutions can increase staff flexibility and productivity namely in medical records, for medical coders and out patient administration. Using Mobile printers and scanners where and when they are required ensures increased efficiency and a reduction in human error as data is captured automatically. Mobile printers and scanners are the optimum solution for printing and scanning labels at patient bedside, in the pharmacy or at the nurses station. Accurately capturing data at point of care means healthcare professionals cannot input incorrect data. Manually inputting patient data at a later stage can be error prone.
2 Dimensional Barcodes
A major development in the use of bar-coding in healthcare professions is the introduction of 2 Dimensional barcodes. It is expected that 2 dimensional barcodes will become mainstream in the near future in this sector. Two-dimensional symbologies are attractive in applications where space is at a premium. Two Dimensional barcodes are ideal for Patient Wristbands, corner of medical record charts and admission cards in Accident and Emergency.
Being able to store up to two A4 pages of information on a 2 Dimensional barcode will increase the amount of data capable of being stored on one individual patient. It is ideal in that this symbology can act as a portable database rather than just a database key. Analysing the growth and adaptation of 2 Dimensional barcodes, Hand Held products have developed a range of 2 Dimensional readable scanners.
About ADC Barcode and Hand Held Products
ADC Barcode (who has been at the forefront of Barcode technology for over 16 years) and Hand Held Products (worlds leading provider of image-based barcode readers) have joined forces to offer the healthcare sector a powerful choice of automated data capture solutions, using the latest imaging technology.
ADC Barcodes expertise in barcode technology in the healthcare industry covers a wide variety of applications, including Blood Tracking, Patient Identification, Pharmacy Applications, Chart Tracking, FDA-approved Patient Identification Bracelets and Lab Systems. Our point of care technology has many real and practical benefits including the new Patient Bracelet.
ADC Barcode Data Capture Solutions at Work
ADC Barcode and Hand Held Products have an established reputation for providing data capture solutions for the healthcare industry. Recently, ADC Barcode supplied IMAGETEAM 3800 hand held scanners using latest barcode imaging technology into the Rotunda Chart Tracking Solution. ADC Barcode has also supplied IMAGETEAM 4600 scanners into the Pharmacy department of St. James that are capable of reading conventional barcodes as well as 2 Dimensional Barcodes. ADC Barcode have also supplied Patient Identification Wristbands into the Mater Private.