Every day, we see hundreds of barcodes. Whether they’re on products at the grocery store, the mall, or even in our refrigerator, barcodes have become ubiquitous.
Obviously, we have been using barcodes for a long time. But recent developments in barcode technology have created new options for the healthcare industry. These developments have the potential to improve patient care, costs, and efficiency.
Let’s take a closer look the role barcodes are playing in healthcare.
Hospitals manage millions of dollars worth of medical equipment, supplies, and medication. With the help of a wireless barcode scanner, healthcare provides can easily track what items have been used, on which patient and what items are available.
This feature is especially helpful to providers who have prescription drugs like opioids on hand. If medication is stolen, they can refer to the scanned inventory to evaluate exactly how much is missing, and estimate when it might have been stolen.
While it is unfortunate, the truth is that healthcare providers make thousands of mistakes every year regarding patient care. For instance, a nurse could give an injection to patient A that was intended for patient B.
With barcodes, the provider could scan the code on the patient’s wrist before administering the treatment. Then they would scan the medication code. This would verify which patient the treatment was ordered for and confirm when it was administered.
When providing a patient with a blood transfusion, it is extremely important to give them donor blood that is compatible with their own blood. For instance, giving a patient with B- blood B+ blood could lead to serious complications or even death. Barcodes have been extremely useful in labeling blood bags to avoid this problem.
Using a barcode, blood banks can indicate whether a donation contains platelets or whole blood. They can also indicate what type of blood the donation contains. This ensures that patients needing transfusions get the right blood.
In a similar way, barcodes are also used to label specimens taken from a patient. For instance, let’s say a surgeon removes a biopsy of a mass from a patient to determine whether it is malignant. This sample will be labeled with a barcode to ensure it can be tracked and is not confused with another sample.
By using proper label adhesive, the codes will remain scannable and in place, even after centrifuge and high and low temperatures, making positive identification possible.
Another important use of barcodes is providing secure staff identification. Hospitals can provide doctors and nurses with identification cards that include barcodes that must be scanned to enter certain areas.
The ID’s can also help track which of the staff administered care to which patient.
These restrictions ensure that patient safety and privacy are protected.
Learn More About Barcode Technology
While we’ve mentioned some ways that barcode technology is impacting healthcare, we’ve really only scratched the surface. More and more, industries are learning of ways to use barcodes to improve their workflow.
If you would like to learn more about how barcode technology can improve your business, contact us. We’ll work with you to help you find the solutions you need.