In the Super Six series, we explore the ways that Zebra is providing solutions to the healthcare industry. Each post focuses on one particular category and examines the ways in which Zebra is actively providing healthcare facilities with solutions to improve the way they operate. This post is all about medication labeling!
Employees working in the healthcare field strive to meet what is known as the five rights: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route (delivery method) and the right time.
Healthcare industry development manager Steve Kloesel said medication labeling impacts all of these rights. "There are very real consequences if a patient is not prescribed or administered the correct medication," he said. "Zebra's role is to help make the process of getting the correct medication to the correct patient accurately."
Medication labels are a critical part of ensuring that the prescribed type and dosage of medicine is administered to the correct patient at the correct time. As such, creating an appropriate label is an important aspect of patient care and safety.
Hospital staff members create specially formatted labels using Zebra printers – generally a tabletop printer that can handle high-volume applications, such as the ZT410 (pictured left) or the ZT230.
"Zebra offers media that vary based on the type of container or medication packaging that needs to be labeled," explained Steve. "Syringes require label flags because you do not want to cover up the syringe measurement notches. Pill bottles require small labels that will fit on the limited surface area. An IV bag requires labels with specific patient, medication, date and time information. And blood bags utilize thermal transfer labels so they will last for as long as the blood needs to be stored. Those labels must also be ISBT 128 certified so that the adhesives will not leak into the bag."
With the wide range of patient needs, it is imperative that hospitals not only have a proper way to label medication but also a means for tracing and tracking the treatments.
The whereabouts of medication are constantly monitored from the moment a drug arrives at the hospital in bulk deliveries to when single doses are administered to patients.
The labels adhered to medications contain a barcode that is specific to the patient and their treatment plan. First, the patient is positively identified through their barcoded wristband, which is their digital voice to the hospital's electronic medical record system. When the patient's wristband is scanned along with the medications being administered, it generates data about the patient's prescribed medications, the dosage amounts, frequency of consumption, and the interactions of various medications when administered together.
Additionally, hospital pharmacies are utilizing color to improve the ability by hospital staff to distinguish and accurately identify medications. Hospitals have taken advantage of Zebra's IQ Color media solution to meet this need.
For more ways in which Zebra is partnering with hospitals to improve patient safety and care and eliminate risk, stay tuned to zConnect for the next installment of the Super Six Series: RTLS.
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About the Author: As healthcare practice lead – Americas, Andy Tippet oversees healthcare practice for North America and South America Regions of Zebra Technologies. Tippet provides planning and execution on marketing initiatives to drive revenues.