Improving medical service at the bedside point of contact is one of the most important goals in the healthcare industry today. In any hospital, the healthcare workers who spend the most time directly caring for patients also need the greatest access to critical information. In order to improve care at the patient connection point, hospitals need to overcome the challenges that plague today’s healthcare workforce – challenges that increase the opportunity for error at the bedside and reduce the amount of time required to devote to direct patient care.
Strict directives to ensure the Five Rights of Medication Safety – Right Patient, Right Drug, Right Time, Right Dose, Right Form – has forced many hospitals to convert their bedside point of care processes from paper based charts to integrated electronic systems. With the right solution in place you can eliminate the potentially-fatal error of administering the wrong medication to the wrong patient. By using a mobile computer with bar code scanning technology, staff can quickly scan a barcode on a patient’s wristband and confirm the time, dosage and prescription at the patient’s bedside – reducing these costly errors and increasing patient safety.
What are the Key Benefits of a Bedside Point of Care System?
Provide superior bedside point of care with an integrated solution that provides the benefits of:
- Accuracy – Reduce human errors significantly while ensuring the right information is always available.
- Efficiency – Enable your staff to do more throughout the day.
- Speed – Cut back the time spent on administering care from hours to minutes.
- Safety – Keep patients healthy with the correct administration of medication and care.
What is Bedside Point of Care?
Improving patient safety and accuracy throughout a hospital or clinic has become a prime concern throughout the healthcare industry. Medication administration errors cause a multitude of deaths each year and utilizing bar code and RFID systems are a proven way of preventing these errors. From the patient ID wristband to the bedside care of the patient, barcodes, scanners and mobile computers enable your healthcare workers to be as efficient and safe as possible. Prevention is the best form of medicine and a well integrated point of care solution gives you the best patient safety tools to help reduce and prevent errors.
It used to be that a nurse had to check the kardex system at the central nursing station for orders, transcribe that information via paper and pen, compare the handwritten information to the patient chart, check the patient wristband to verify their identity and then transcribe the updated information back into the kardex system at the nurses’ station. With the use of scanners and mobile computers, the nurse simply scans the patient’s wristband, the medication and their own ID card to ensure that the right patient receives the right medication, at right dosage, by the right means, at the right time. Since the patient’s record is updated in real time, the nurse on the next shift can always see medication that was administered by the prior shift. The danger of a patient receiving a duplicate dose of medication at shift change due to a lag time in manual data entry is completely eliminated.
Implementing a bedside point of care solution allows you to fully address the Five Rights of Medication Administration in less time with complete accuracy.
1. Right Patient – The fact that your team is working with the correct person is of the utmost importance and is the fundamental key to proper medication administration. Make sure you identify the patient accurately. It’s not enough to simply ask the person what their name is as their level of consciousness may be altered due to medication, injury, a procedure or they may be non-verbal. Using bar-coded wristbands for your patients will allow for quick identification and tracking of their history and personal information. With a simple scan using a mobile computer or handheld scanner, staff can easily ensure who they are working on and have any necessary information right at their fingertips.
2. Right Medication – Have your team double-check the medication they intend to administer to their patients. Automate the dispensing process by using barcodes on the medication packaging. These make it easy to scan and determine if you have the proper medication for your current patient. Certain meds are frequently confused with others that have a similar name or appearance so it is imperative to make sure you’re giving the correct one.
3. Right Dose – With the use of generic drugs increasing in hospitals, you may be confronted with the need to give more than one of a specific tablet or capsule or to measure a liquid into a syringe or dose cup. Double-checking your measurements and making sure you have the correct number of pills or dosage before you administer the medication can be the difference between health and sickness. Scanning the barcodes on both the medication and the patient’s wristband will give you all the information needed to determine how much the patient should be given and it will even warn you of any dosage differences.
4. Right Route – Once the proper dosage is determined, your must know how to give it to the patient. Obviously the route by which your team administers medications is crucial. Improper administration can be a deadly mistake. Scanning the medication barcode with a mobile computer will instantly pull up information, not only on the dose amount, but on the proper means of dispensing it.
5. Right Time – Medications are spaced at specific intervals for good reason. Levels may need to be maintained in the bloodstream, certain meds may need to be given an hour or more apart from other medications or they may need to be taken in specific relation to meals. Absorption and efficacy may be affected if you incorrectly administer the medication. Scanning the patient’s wristband can inform your team when the patient was last administered their meds and display when the next dose needs to be given. Automating these processes not only saves time, but also lives.
Having the rights tools in place for your staff is essential for a productive bedside point of care system. We can help ensure you have everything that is required by you specific application needs and HIMSS software (Meditech, Cerner, McKesson, Epic or CareFusion). Provide the best patient care possible with a fully integrated solution.
What Should You Address When Making a Bedside Point of Care System?
When putting together an effective and suitable bedside point of care system there are a few key questions to answer:
- How many concurrent users will you have?
- Do you have wireless infrastructure in place already?
- Will your staff be using a cart on wheels (COW) or mobile computers? Both?
- What HIMSS software are you currently using, if any?
- Do you already ID patients with wristbands?
- Is your medication labeled with barcodes currently?
- Will you need voice capabilities on the mobile device?
What are the Components of a Bedside Point of Care System?
Bedside point of care systems utilize several core components:
- Mobile Computer – Nurses and staff are constantly on the move and a mobile device is ideal for providing the information they need in the palm of their hand. There are healthcare specific models with disinfectant-ready housing to withstand in any healthcare environment.
- Cordless Barcode Scanner – When you are using COWs in your facility adding scanning capabilities is easy with a cordless scanner. Quickly interface with the COW via USB and start scanning.
- Wristband Printer – Patients need to be easily identified in order to care for them properly. Issuing wristbands with unique barcodes on them is a simple yet effective solution for patient identification.
- Wireless Infrastructure – In healthcare, information needs to be accessible at all times and updated in real-time. Having a robust wireless infrastructure is required to support all your bandwidth needs without ever going down.
- Label Printer – Labels are used throughout a healthcare facility to ID anything from tools and equipment to medication. Being able to print on demand at a high quality is a basic part of any management system.