How Barcode Wristbands are Improving Patient Safety in Healthcare Facilities
Hospitals across the country have worked hard over the past decade to improve patient outcomes, but most still struggle to overcome a common challenge – the patient safety risks posed by human error.
Patient identification errors are the largest factor related to 13% of surgical mistakes and 67% of transfusion mix-ups in the United States, according to the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). Additionally, The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) reports that up to 14% of medical records have inaccurate, potentially dangerous patient data that can be traced to incorrect patient identification.
Modern barcode scanning solutions increase patient safety by ensuring that the right patient receives the right procedure or the right medication (at the right dosage) at every step of the patient journey. Here’s how:
Barcodes are Accurate and Reliable
Manual patient identification systems require handwritten or printed labels. This approach has a number of deficiencies, including the fact that they are vulnerable to human error and that a limited amount of information is represented on the label. In addition, as the patient is moved from one department to another, there are disjointed methods in place to successfully identify the patient.
Barcoded wristbands provide accurate and reliable identification across every department and at every stage of the patient journey. With a barcoded wristband issued upon admission, hospitals can initiate accurate (and largely automated) patient tracking that not only helps improve quality of care, but can also positively impact operations from room cleaning to operating room safety and asset tracking.
For example, Zebra’s ZD510-HC thermal wristband printer has been used at numerous hospitals to improve patient ID efforts. With a small footprint and an easy-to-load label system that can accommodate a variety of different sized wristbands, healthcare facilities have been able to implement barcode tracking with minimal training and cost.
Incorporate Tracking and Data Applications
Barcode technology can instantly provide medical teams with additional information to ensure patient safety. Scanning patient wristbands can automatically call up their electronic health record and help automate chart updates. Scanning also identifies the dosage required or procedure about to be performed based on the record.
With barcoded wristbands, critical information is always with the patient as they move throughout the healthcare facility. Personnel can access patient records, specimens, medications, and even equipment locations in real-time to ensure patient safety.
Combining patient identification with barcode-based asset tracking and staff identification can provide an automated (and auditable) record of every patient interaction. A few scans will allow staff to know not only that a patient received the right medication, but at what time, who administered it, and the specific pieces of equipment used for that patient.
With that information in hand, hospitals will have a wealth of data to analyze that can help them better evaluate the effectiveness of treatment across populations and down to specific patients. Some hospitals are already using analytics to spot disease patterns, trends, and plot outcomes. Barcode tracking can help link these disparate data streams in a way that adds new dimensions to the analyses.
Ultimately, such tracking also saves the healthcare facility time and money. Staff spend less time trying to determine what the patient needs or where they are, and more time delivering quality care. Manual administrative processes can also be eliminated.
By standardizing procedures around a consistent patient identification process and implementing barcode-based, automated patient identification and specimen collection, healthcare organizations can make significant progress toward eliminating labeling errors and improving patient safety. Let the Zebra healthcare solutions experts at Miles Data help you discover the best solutions for your facility. Contact us today.