Enhanced Patient Safety From The Barcode Warehouse and Zebra Technologies

Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTUH) is improving patient safety through the successful deployment of a Zebra HC100 thermal wristband printing solution provided by The Barcode Warehouse.

It was important that we complied with the NPSA (National Patient Safety Agency) guidelines within its alert around the need for all hospitals and trusts throughout the UK to deploy electronically printed wristbands, explained Michelle Smith, Project Manager for the BTUH. 

The use of electronically printed wristbands greatly reduces the risk of misidentifying patients and administrating incorrect medical care.  Handwritten wristbands are often difficult to read, as details begin to rub off if a patient remains in hospital for any length of time, resulting in a need for constant replacement, continued Smith.

The BTUH looked at other wristband solution providers, but selected the Zebra HC100 wristband printer following a demonstration by The Barcode Warehouse, a visit to another hospital that was successfully deploying the HC100, and confirmation that the printer would integrate with BTUHs PAS (Patient Administration System).

Zebras HC100 offers a total solution for wristband printing with its integrated small footprint thermal printer and easy to load cartridges containing antimicrobial wristbands. 

The Barcode Warehouse understands the healthcare sector and as such is one of BTUHs preferred suppliers.  Its demo of the Zebra HC100 clearly highlighted the ease of use with which we could quickly change the cartridges to select the right size wristband for the patient whether an adult, child or baby.  The extensive range of wristbands fitted with our infection control agenda also enables us to colour code wristbands to highlight allergies, added Smith.  Obviously, issuing one wristband per patient instead of many reduces our wastage of consumables, but the key factor is that information on the wristband remains clear throughout the length of the patients stay ensuring the correct identification of our patients.

When a patient is admitted to a BTUH ward, clinical staff access patient information from the BTUH PAS, confirming the patients identification.  A wristband is then printed showing the patients last and first names, NHS ID and Patient ID numbers, date of birth and 2D barcode.

The ability for the printed wristbands to include a barcode was important to the BTUH as it means we are deploying a future proof solution.  With the growth of electronic clinical and administrative systems, barcodes that can easily be read with a hand held scanner will become a crucial identification tool, commented Smith.  This will be of particular importance for hospitals which deploy Haemonetics, the blood tracking solution which already involves the reading of barcodes to check patient ID.  

The technical expertise and integration capabilities provided by the Barcode Warehouse and Zebra Technologies partnership ensured that we have a wristband printing solution to meet todays requirements and those of tomorrow, concluded Smith.


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