Using Smartphones for Patient Bedside Care in Healthcare Facilities

Today we’re excited to continue a series of posts that will take a look at how the healthcare industry can utilizing smartphone-based barcode scanning to improve patient care, empower healthcare professionals and reduce cost. In this post we’ll cover the patient bedside care usage scenario.  Stay tuned for more usage scenarios from the healthcare industry in the coming weeks.

Barcodes at Bedside: How are they used?

Healthcare professionals have traditionally used peripheral barcode scanning hardware to access a patient’s medical health records, record and schedule medication administration and track specimens at the point of collection. Patient identification typically relies on barcoded bracelets worn on patients that are connected to electronic health records. To support medication administration, prescription drugs contain barcodes that enable this seamless identification. Lastly, as blood and other specimens are gathered they are typically labeled with barcodes.

Here are some of the features that could be included in a patient bedside care app:

– Patient identification
– Updating Electronic Health Records (EHR)
– Medication identification and verification
– Specimen identification
– Supply and medication procurement
– Accessing useful drug-related information such as drug interactions and side effects

These features provide a variety of benefits to healthcare organizations, including reduced costs from eliminating re-testing and re-treatment of patients, fewer mistakes during treatment, and better organized supplies, medications and specimens.

Next we’ll discuss how to replace the bulky peripheral equipment used to support these applications with a ruggedized smartphone device.

Replacing Mobile Computers and Dedicated Barcode Scanners with Ruggedized Smartphones

Ruggedized smartphones have become a more powerful and versatile alternative to traditional barcode scanning hardware while providing additional functionality at a reduced cost. Recently we compared the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of traditional mobile computers and dedicated scanners to ruggedized smartphone devices, and the results are incredible. We found that a typical mobile computer (Intermec CN4) costs over 3.7x times as much money as a ruggedized smartphone device (Samsung Galaxy SIII with  Seidio Obex case). This research reveals the immense savings IT managers can take advantage of by transitioning to a smartphone-centric ecosystem. In addition to becoming ruggedized, some smartphone cases are beginning to utilize antimicrobial casing, which will make smartphone devices perfect for sterile healthcare environments.

Leveraging the Bring-Your-Own-Device Trend

Healthcare professionals can leverage the BYOD (bring-your-own-device) trend by providing their employees with an app that can be downloaded to their personal devices. With such an app your employees will always have access to up-to-date information as they scan barcodes across the healthcare environment. The apps enable the “occasional scanner,” those people in your workforce who wouldn’t have otherwise have access to a dedicated barcode scanner but still could use one from time to time to identify items, access information or capture other types of data.

Adding Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK to a Patient Bedside Care App

Patient bedside care apps can interact with a variety of barcodes on patient wristbands, medications and specimens. These may include variations of UPC and EAN codes, as well as Datamatrix codes. Scandit’s enterprise-grade Barcode Scanner SDK can support these barcodes and many more symbologies, and we’re always working to add more. The latest version of our Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK delivers true enterprise-grade barcode scanning to smartphones and tablet devices, providing an incredible experience for users. Check out the video get a sense of the experience:

Developing a Patient Care App

So you’re convinced, it’s time to build app. What needs to happen next?

1)      Decide if you want to build the app in house or hire a solution provider to build one.

2)      Decided which platforms you’d like the app to run on. If you are considering implementing a BYOD ecosystem plan on having your app support both the Android and iOS platforms.

3)      Assess which systems you need the app to work with. Do you use an Enterprise EHR system? How will the app connect to the necessary database?

4)      Identify the features you need, and find the best software components for the job.
(Our Barcode Scanner SDK provides true enterprise-grade barcode scanning).

5)      Build and test your app (or watch it being built).

6)      Deploy and Enjoy.

Need help making a decision? Our sales staff is here to help. Contact us for more information.

Stay tuned for more usage scenarios from more industries coming soon!