zebra logo

The Visible Value Blog

It Begins with Patient ID

Posted by Andy Tippet

February 16, 2016 at 1:44 PM


Zebra Technologies Corporation is proud to exhibit at HIMSS16. This year’s event takes place Monday, February 29 through Thursday March 3, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

At HIMSS16, Zebra will debut a series of solution sets that will deliver identity solutions that improve patient care. Prior to identification of patient specimens, medications, or even the assets used in patient care, healthcare providers need to positively identify their patients. According to a 2014 report entitled Patient Identification and Matching that was prepared for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “Over the last few years, the healthcare industry has been working towards meeting the Triple Aim of improving patient care, improving population health, and reducing the cost of healthcare. Accurately identifying patients and correctly matching their data, particularly as electronic data becomes more prevalent, is a key component to ensuring the Triple Aim can be met.” Yet part of meeting these objectives is to provide an underlying system of patient ID that works best with the workflows of the health systems. 

According to one study conducted by the Pennsylvania Patient Authority, “Patient misidentification has been a long-standing problem that has permeated all aspects of healthcare and led to errors ranging from wrong-site surgeries to discharging infants to the wrong families to ordering incompatible blood.” This study went onto to note that just the Pennsylvania healthcare facilities in the study experienced “813 wrong-patient medication errors.”

Regardless of whether it is misidentification of specimens, providing the wrong medication, or even sending patients into the OR for the wrong procedures, patient safety begins with positively identifying the patient.  Currently, this patient identification is done in a number of ways including the use of barcoded thermal or barcoded laser generated wristbands.   Yet the production of these wristbands is just one side of the solution.  Healthcare providers also need data capture devices to scan the barcodes, software to help manage the devices, and services to support the entire process. 

Another critical aspect of positive patient ID is that the components to a solution be compatible with the EMR systems employed by the various health systems.  As the Patient Identification and Matching report notes, “Matching records to the correct person becomes increasingly complicated as organizations share records electronically using different systems.” Additionally there is even a mobility aspect to positive patient ID, especially as the location shift in where the care takes place evolves, “in a mobile society where patients seek care in many healthcare settings.”

Zebra is unique in having all aspects of a comprehensive positive patient ID solution.  We provide the output printer devices as well as several choices of data capture products.  Additionally we have wristband choices for thermal or laser output, label supplies, device management software, and supporting services to deliver a complete offering. 

To learn more, stop by booth 3216 Hall D, at the show or visit zebra.com/himss2016.

Follow our activity from HIMSS on Twitter @ZebraHealthcare and #HIMSS16.