Barcodes in health care: Improving patient safety and identification

Every industry is continually seeking to reduce human error and increase efficiency of workers in a safe manner. Human error can be found across virtually every industry, but in health care even the slightest mistake can be fatal. A chief concern of every health care provider is to constantly improve patient care and safety on a daily basis, and it all starts with patient identification. The best way to identify, track, and care for patients in today’s health care system is with the help of barcodes.

We’ve seen many improvements in patient safety and care over the past 20 years thanks to technology. An unsung hero in this advancement has been the barcode. The barcode has made major contributions to the health care industry by way of streamlining the admittance process, identifying medical records and specimens instantly, tracking medication and recording a patient’s stay at a medical facility. Now most interactions between patient and doctor, or nurse, start with a barcode scan to record data, administer medicine or obtain a patient’s history. This process has now become even simpler. With the use of smartphone and tablet-based barcode scanning solutions, and anti-microbial casing, any health care provider can cut costs and improve safety in hospitals, urgent care centers and doctor’s offices.

Studies show that having barcode technology in place, in conjunction with an electronic medication administration record, significantly reduces transcription and medication errors by as much as 41%. This is made possible by notification alerts, new labeling techniques and patient record systems that utilize barcode scanning technology. Now, nurses can get notifications on a smart device if a patient is overdue for a medication, or be alerted if they are administering the wrong type, or dose, of medicine. This makes it easier than ever to ensure patients are receiving good care.

With improved patient safety becoming more important than ever in an increasingly complex health care system, there has never been a better time to consider adopting barcode identification software for mobile devices. By increasing efficiency, reducing human error and improving patient safety hospitals can now focus on what matters most: providing the best patient care possible.