Barcodes in Healthcare
We get many requests to register barcodes to be used in the healthcare sector and we thought an article written on the ways in which barcodes are used in today’s healthcare systems would be beneficial to a vast amount of our customers. We cannot begin to imagine how hospitals and clinics managed before these codes and electronic records were introduced, it was a massive amount of manual work and record keeping. I am sure they are extremely grateful for the introduction of barcodes.
As we all know systems need to be streamlined and in precise order when it comes to healthcare and inventory as there is absolutely no room for human error, patient safety also needs to be a priority at all times, this is where the use of barcodes comes in handy. One way that barcodes are utilised in this system is by tracking medical devices and machinery, these devices are extremely expensive and it makes sense to be able to track them at all times, when being checked out of one department and moved into another, or if a specific device is assigned to a patient, the barcodes can be scanned and the specifications of the device can be uploaded to the patient’s medical records online, such as where the device was sourced from. This is the perfect way in which these important pieces of equipment can always be monitored. You may be thinking this is also a solid way in which to prevent theft in hospitals and you would be correct. Hospitals are able to have a 100% accurate stock inventory at all times, this will decrease the chance of running out of everyday supplies as well as over ordering and wastage of supplies and will save time as well as it decreases the amount of time that hospital staff need to spend manually ordering and counting stock.
You may have noticed that in some hospitals the physical patient records have healthcare barcodes placed in the folders in printed out strips, representing the patient information which corresponds with the barcodes placed on the patients wrist band, as well as the medication prescribed and administered to the patient. These barcodes are linked to the electronic patient records and helps keep an accurate record as we know that healthcare officers are dealing with hundreds if not thousands of patients daily and require a way in which there is minimal manual records kept as this can lead to human error and unintentional negligence, which is eradicated with the use of healthcare barcodes and electronic records.
If you have an ongoing prescription for chronic medication from a government hospital or clinic and you visit them each month to collect your prepacked medication or perhaps you have it delivered to you then you will see that each package has a barcode on. These codes are unique to you and will be linked to your folder so that the clinic or pharmacy packing your prescription monthly can keep a record of what medications they have provided you with as well as that your monthly medication has been received by yourself. Any healthcare institution has basically done away with the manual input of information as it was very costly in the long run due to the extra staff that would also have to be hired as all procedures take a vast amount of time to complete as it would have to be checked once packed as well to make sure that no errors have occurred or that incorrect medication has been packed in.
Another way in which healthcare barcodes are being used which we thought was wonderful was when administering vaccinations to paediatric patients. Before barcoding was in use the nurse or doctor would have to manually record the information such as the lot number of the vaccine, the company from which they received the vaccine, the expiration date as well as the staff members details of which would be administering the vaccine, this would result in the procedure taking up to half an hour, whereas with everything being barcoded it is as simple as the bar code that has been placed on the vile, the patients unique record number as well as their own personal staff barcodes, which records all the necessary information onto the electronic patient record systems.
The same applies to surgical instruments that are used in theatre. Every instrument is scanned in and out of theatre to ensure that no incorrect instrument makes its way into the operating room as well as goes missing. What we found very interesting was that many surgeons have a certain set of instruments that they use for every surgery and it never changes and with the use of healthcare barcodes the surgical nurses are able to scan in and prepare the surgeons instruments beforehand and always ensure that the correct ones are available, they make up packs to be kept and sterilised before each surgery.
Basically, any administrative procedure in healthcare can be implemented with the use of barcodes which can be read about in more detail on in this article Healthcare Barcodes Wikipedia and this will allow nursing staff and doctors to spend more quality time on the care of their patients than monitoring and recording stock and medication administered. We hope that in the near future we will have more hospitals using these procedures and becoming familiar with the revolution of barcodes. Have a visit to our webpage www.sabarcodes.co.za and have a look at the various types of barcodes that we sell, and ways in which they are used in today’s world We have a dedicated customer services team that are very clued up on the usage of barcodes and they may be able to provide you with some sound advice on what format would be most suitable for use in your business, weather it be for healthcare, courier, retail, assets, you name it we sell it, that is why we are the number one barcode reseller in South Africa, and our barcodes are able to be used internationally as well.
An interesting article on ways in which healthcare executives use codes Healthcare Standards Barcodes GS1