4 Ways Smart Device-based Computer Vision Improves Patient Care

The days of manual documentation of critical patient care workflows are ending.  More and more healthcare processes are being digitized to ensure accuracy and portability, making patient care safer and improving outcomes across the board. Barcodes and alphanumeric codes have become the principal containers of information in virtually all aspects of healthcare, from identifying patients to administering medication and managing equipment and supplies. Until recently, healthcare enterprises have used dedicated scanners to capture and record digital information.

Today, advances in mobile computer vision technology make using smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables to scan and capture barcodes a faster, more flexible, more reliable and less costly option than dedicated scanners. Computer vision software integrated into mobile apps turn smart devices into powerful barcode and alphanumeric code scanning machines.  In the hands of healthcare professionals, these smart devices offer clear, quantifiable advantages to the execution of healthcare workflows.

1 Computer vision software offers enterprise-grade barcode scanning performance

Computer vision software can be integrated into virtually any app running on a camera-equipped smart device. The software is designed for enterprise-grade use with market-leading scan speeds and accuracy and is scalable to support large implementations. Regardless of environmental conditions, computer vision software quickly and accurately scans barcodes – even damaged or blurry codes – at a great variety of distances and angles. Since the scanning is performed on a mobile device, the device can go to the barcode and not the other way around.  This combination of robustness and flexibility is simply not achievable with dedicated scanners. It is particularly important for healthcare professionals managing patient identification, medication administration, and specimen or sterile fluid bag collection.

2 Augmented reality provides unprecedented insight into healthcare workflows

Mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices offer augmented reality functionality that enables users to get additional information about an item that traditional barcode scanners cannot provide. Augmented reality enables healthcare professionals to access critical data about medication, patient histories, lab workups or any asset in its most usable form, right on the device screen. This dramatically reduces the incidence of errors in these processes, increases patient safety and ensures the highest quality of care.

In addition, mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices offer MatrixScan, a feature that enables users of any camera-equipped device to locate, track and decode multiple barcodes in a single instance. This functionality is particularly useful when combined with augmented reality which can superimpose on a device screen important information like specific patient instructions, inventory levels and expiry dates of medical supplies. Healthcare professionals can leverage MatrixScan and augmented reality to perform tasks such as counting inventory, re-ordering medication, and checking the freshness and completeness of crash carts much faster than with traditional scanners. The time saved frees up healthcare professionals to focus more effort on patient care.

3 Smart-device-based barcode scanning is much less expensive than dedicated scanners

Any smart device equipped with a built-in camera can be transformed into a high-performance data capture machine – even low-end devices. Some enterprises simply make the mobile app available to employees who install it on their own smart devices and use it to perform critical healthcare workflows. In either case, the cost of acquiring these devices and loading the app is far less than using dedicated scanners. ERS Medical, a provider of specialist patient transport and courier services to the National Health Service (NHS) and the wider UK healthcare sector has replaced the traditional PDAs they used previously with Scandit-powered smart devices to increase the speed and efficiency of delivery of pathological specimen bags. ERS Medical’s drivers were able to increase scan speeds by 50%, enabling them to move more quickly through their pick-up-and-drop-off schedule. Also, instead of paying £800 for each new PDA, ERS Medical spends just £100 for each smartphone. They also report the cost to repair or replace broken smartphones is much lower. The cost savings here can be applied to improving patient care.

4 Mobile Computer Vision is aligning with GS1

Scandit is aligning with GS1—the global supply chain standards organization—to bring increased efficiencies to healthcare management and supply chain through the use of barcode scanning on mobile devices. Superior scanning performance and dramatically lower TCO make managing healthcare workflows with computer vision-enabled smart devices an attractive solution. Even today, trusts and suppliers in the UK and worldwide depend on Scandit technology to create and power mobile apps for crucial enterprise workflows like operating theatre management, pharmacy/pathology, bed management, observations, medicines administration, non-clinical task workers (porters), inventory management and proof of delivery. One example is Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which saw a 95% improvement in cost and time efficiency when it implemented Scandit software in 114 departments as part of the UK Government’s Scan-4-Safety initiative.

Conclusion

By any calculation, using mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices to perform critical healthcare workflows is a smarter option than traditional scanners. The barcode is the most ubiquitous container of information on earth and virtually everyone uses a smart device and is familiar with mobile apps. When one factors in the additional benefits such as more robust technology, lower total cost of ownership, and Scandit’s alignment with GS1 as well as the proven records of success among Scandit’s customers in the healthcare industry that are already using the technology, the adoption of mobile computer vision on healthcare is an even easier decision to make. Healthcare enterprises can apply the proven savings in cost and time to improving patient care and increasing overall satisfaction.

Empower Your Healthcare Team With Mobile Scanning Today

Be sure to call or message Scandit if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive healthcare solutions and how they can align your organization for long-term success. You can also contact us for more information on how to create or refine your own medicine barcode scanning app, pharmacy barcodes scanning, or healthcare barcode scanning. We would be happy to connect you with the resources your team needs to capitalize on mobile barcode scanning technology.