Medical errors, whether evident or harmful to the patient, are a very preventable adverse effect of medical care scenarios. They can include adverse drug events, wrong-site surgeries, under- or over-treatment, mistaken patient identities, and more.

While higher error rates are often seen in urgent and severe circumstances, such as those occurring in operating rooms, emergency rooms, and intensive care units, medical errors can occur in any healthcare setting. 

The answer, in part, to reducing the potential for medical errors is to harness technology that will help encourage correct and detailed information at the site of patient care. 

One of the most powerful, yet economical, ways to do this is through the use of barcode printing.

How Barcode Printing Can Prevent Medical Errors

While barcodes themselves don’t contain descriptive data, they do use numbers that are easily searchable by computer to find a record containing necessary data and related information.

Successful implementation of thermal barcode printing in a healthcare environment depends on changing the information workflow, making staff comfortable with the technology, and ensuring that there are budgetary monies set aside for the purchase of thermal printing technologies.

With those strategies in place, thermal barcode printing can assist healthcare providers in delivering a higher level of patient care, minimizing errors, and increasing staff efficiency.

Areas in Healthcare that Can Be Improved Using Barcode Printing

Many areas of the healthcare environment can see positive reinforcement through the deployment of barcode printers. The most common include:

Medication Management and Drug Identification

Since 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that human drugs must be encoded using barcodes that are easily readable by barcode scanners. These codes include drug identification information as well as lot numbers and expiry date. 

This technique can prevent serious medical errors, reducing mortality rates by a striking 20% and medical administration errors by 82%.

Specimen Collection and Blood Infusion

The accuracy of specimen collection and diagnosis is correlated with correct labeling. It’s estimated that up to 16,000 adverse events each year have occurred due to a mislabeled patient or lab specimens. Barcoding specimens can increase diagnosis accuracy, reduce delays in treatment, decrease staff workload, and help patients receive a higher level of care.

Barcoding blood products, required by the FDA, includes information specifying blood type, lot number identifying a donor, a product code, and a facility code showing blood origination. This minimizes the risk of patients receiving the wrong blood type during treatment.

Patient Identification

Through barcoding, wristbands containing patient information such as medical records, visit number, medication requirements, and other identifiers can prevent medical errors by making patient care activities and data available at point of care. 

Surgical Instrument Identification 

Finally, barcodes can be used to properly identify supplies and instruments for surgical procedures to keep current with surgeons’ preferences and to optimize kits for individual surgeons. This not only helps surgeons by providing the instruments they want and need, but it helps hospitals control costs more closely, reducing spending on unused or unwanted items.

Additionally, barcodes can help identify instruments that have been sterilized, to reduce the chance of contamination.

Let James Imaging’s High-Quality Barcode Printers Revolutionize Your Healthcare Environment

At James Imaging, we seek out and carry only the highest quality equipment that’s time-tested to give you the kind of reliable performance you need, especially in the fast-paced world of healthcare.

We understand how important quality is when it comes to thermal barcode printers: One study of bar code scanner used in five hospitals found that dissatisfaction with barcode use stemmed from an inadequate number of scanners and poor label quality. 

That’s why we carry the Toshiba and Zebra brand barcode printers. With their rugged, long-lasting construction and intuitive, easy-to-use design, they’re the perfect barcode printers for your mission-critical labeling applications. And, with a low total cost of ownership, they’re easy to fit into even the tightest of budgets.

Bring your patients the reliability, accuracy, and safety that thermal barcode printing can provide. Reach out to a professional at James Imaging Systems and learn how our selection of thermal barcode printers can help you revolutionize your practice, increase efficiency, minimize staff disruption, and elevate patient care.