Displaying articles for: 12-05-2010 - 12-11-2010
Now that we’ve taken a look into how printer technology can help eliminate costly errors by utilizing them at the point-of-care to label specimens and patient charts, we’re going to shift focus into another area where printer and media technology are being utilized – positive patient identification, specifically, patient wristband applications.
As you can imagine, the overall foundation for patient safety lies in their positive identification. Hospitals have been doing this for years through patient wristbands. However in recent years, hospitals have looked for upgrades to help avoid some of the patient identification errors that were drastically increasing. Incidents of wristbands falling off, being illegible or smudged have increased, and consequently, transcription errors and misidentification have also increased.
A study by the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA), as outlined in this Intermec White Paper, showed that patient misidentification was the root cause of 72 percent of adverse hospital events. A UK Study also found that missing wristbands or wristbands with incorrect information were directly responsible for more than 200 incidents over a 19 year period (for more on this, visit Intermec’s “Improve Patient Safety with a Quality Wristband Solution White Paper).
So as bar coding becomes more prevalent in healthcare, will these misidentification errors decrease? It’s definitely a step in the right direction. According to the College of American Pathologists Q-TRACKS Study, the main factors in wristband errors are as follows:
- Patient not wearing wristband (71%)
- Missing, incorrect or illegible information (24%)
- Multiple conflicting wristbands (4%)
- Patient receiving another patient’s wristband on accident (1%)
Bar coding and printer technology can certainly help streamline these issues in a variety of ways. With thermal printing for example, illegibility would be almost eliminated through consistently clear, crisp images. Combined with durable wristband solution specific media, hospitals can effectively produce more durable, higher quality wristbands without problem.
In my next post, we’ll take a deeper look into how printer and label media are helping to solve many of the patient identification issues seen in today’s healthcare field.