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The Visible Value Blog

Brilliant barcoding: the big brains in a band

Posted by Zebra EMEA

April 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM


We’ve all heard the stereotype that doctors have illegible handwriting. And though that may not always be true, the need for things to be written by hand is diminishing – and for good reason.

Barcode technology is increasingly being utilised in the medical industry, to check and verify patient records, to link samples and test results to patients, and to provide medical professionals with other vital information, at the touch of a button.

Medical mistakes are madeworldwide, every day. Did you know that these errors are the seventh most common cause of death overall? That’s why it’s more important than ever that we take advantage of, and implement, technologies like barcoding – not only to support surgery staff, but to promote patient safety and restore trust in our hospitals and clinics too. And that’s also why it’s vital that we accept that a change is needed… now.

During investigations observing the intravenous administration of medicine in Denmark, Germany and the UK, one or more errors were made in 31.7%, 48% and 49% respectively. And in a multinational study, there were 74.5 errors relating to intravenous medication per 100 patient days. Unit staff reported workload, stress and fatigue as a contributing factor in 32% of all errors.

This isn’t the only area where potentially fatal mistakes are made. A study from the UK, Germany and France showed that a lack of appropriate labelling was a frequent error. Labelling errors accounted for 118 of 273 observations (43%) in the UK centre, 421 (99%) in the German centre, and 20 (20%) in the French centre.

These mistakes – as well as others, including dilution and contamination – can easily be avoided using RFID barcode technology, which has been proven to prevent the majority 99.9% of all medical administration errors.

As well as unrivalled accuracy, RFID barcoding offers doctors and patients the optimum control, consistency, clarity and convenience when it comes to treatment.

Think of it like this: can you imagine your entire medical history, vital details, allergies, any medication you’re currently taking and more, all written down on paper? How about for every single person registered at a doctor’s surgery or admitted to hospital? The amount of time and effort it would take to populate, upkeep and find specific information amongst this file is inconceivable.

All of this data can be stored on a single, tiny wristband. With mobile devices such as mobile printers and scanners becoming readily available, any medical professional will be able to access information by the bedside to enable the best treatment possible, in the least time, without any unnecessary pressures or administrative stress.

We’re all familiar with barcode scanning; we can even do it on our smartphones. We know that misidentification and other medical mishaps waste time, money and trust. And we all know the benefits of the big brains in the band. So isn’t it about time you prescribed it?

For more information, take a look at our latest infographic here 

Topics: RFID, Healthcare, Barcodes, Wristbands, APAC, North America, Latin America, EMEA