While the barcode has been around for decades, many verticals are still finding ways to use them in powerful ways. With an increased interest in improving patient outcomes while protecting a patient’s private information, the healthcare market has gone all-in with barcodes. Let’s look at how barcodes are being used in healthcare today, and how you can capitalize on this trend.
The “five rights” of patients
The first image that probably pops into your mind when it comes to healthcare barcodes is the patient wristband. This unique barcode, given upon admission, has become the central point in barcoded medication administration (BCMA). BCMA’s goal is to ensure that patients are administered the correct medications through a series of electronic safeguards. This is often known as the five rights of patients, or that the right patient is getting the right medication at the right time at the right dose by the right route.
The bottom line is that BCMA keeps patients safe and improves outcomes. To the extreme, adverse drug events (ADEs) from improper medication or the wrong dosage can injure patients or, minimally, lead to costly (financially and timewise) delays in recovery.
Barcodes are also used in healthcare settings to track surgical instruments and other medical devices as they go through the process of being cleaned and sterilized for the next use. Using barcoding technologies and sometimes RFID, hospitals—especially surgical units—can build records of when surgeries began and ended, who retrieved and washed the instruments, how often instruments are being used, which instruments have been repaired, when sterilization occurred, and on which patients the instruments were used. Ensuring equipment is sterilized can reduce complications and improve patient outcomes.
When treatment is necessary, it’s important that caregivers have access to the right tools to do their jobs. There’s a commonly shared stat that says nurses spend up to an hour per shift
looking for lost equipment. By using barcodes or RFID, an asset tracking solution can be implemented to help track equipment and get it into the hands of hospital staff so they can administer treatment.
Barcodes can also be used in the operating room to make sure that the right implants are going into patients. They can also be used to count sponges and other surgical tools to ensure that nothing is accidentally left inside a patient being closed after surgery.
Sales opportunities abound
As you can see, there are many ways barcodes and AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) technologies can be used today in healthcare settings to protect patients and improve outcomes. Whether you’re hoping to sell barcode printers, scanners, mobile computers or media, your best bet is to make sure your solutions and sales pitch are focused on how you can improve outcomes for the hospital. They have real money at stake and are willing to spend if you demonstrate a compelling ROI. For more information on healthcare solutions, contact Ingram Micro’s AIDC expert, Daryl Schuster