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Improve Patient Safety with a Quality Wristband Solution

Posted December 21, 2010

Improve Patient Safety with Wristband Solution from IntermecHow Printer Choice and Other Variables Impact Wristband Quality, Positive Patient Identification and Medical Errors

The foundation for patient safety is positive patient identification, which begins with the wristband. Poor quality wristbands can lead to patient misidentification and medical errors. Poor quality wristbands can also prevent organizations from leveraging processes and tools for enhancing patient safety, including automated Five Rights checks, bar code point-of-care (BPOC) systems and electronic medical administration records (eMAR). By improving wristband quality, and improving the convenience of how wristbands are produced, healthcare organizations can improve the accuracy, efficiency and quality of patient care.

A wristband’s ability to enhance quality of care depends on the quality of the wristband itself. Unfortunately, wristband quality varies widely and cannot be taken for granted. Incidents of wristbands falling off or becoming illegible are not uncommon. Consequently, transcription errors and patient misidentification aren’t uncommon either. Wristband print quality will become even more important as bar coding becomes more prevalent in healthcare.

Wristband quality and consistency depend heavily on the print technology, printer model and wristband material used. This white paper highlights how these variables impact wristband quality, documents the links between wristbands, positive patient identification and patient safety, and provides guidance for wristband solutions that deliver accuracy, safety and convenience throughout the patient care path.

Why Wristband Quality Matters to Patient Safety

Wristband quality directly affects accuracy in patient identification. Patient misidentification was the root cause of 72 percent of adverse events according to a U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) Health System study.

A UK study found that missing wristbands and wristbands with incorrect information were directly responsible for 236 incidents and near misses in a 19-month period.

Numerous patient safety studies, organizations and government agencies have called for improving positive patient identification processes, often citing the benefits of bar code-based automated wristband checks. Despite some progress in this area and increased use of bar code medication administration, electronic medical records and other automated safeguards, there is still substantial room for improvement. In recognition of this need, the Joint Commission (JCAHO) made its top National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) for 2010: Improve the accuracy of patient identification. It has been the number- one goal every year since the NPSG program began in 2002.

The implications of patient misidentification are clear. For example:

  • Medication errors harm more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. each year
  • Hospitals alone spend an estimated $3.5 billion annually treating erroneous drug-related injuries contributing to unnecessary care costs
  • There were 116 wrong-site surgeries, including surgery on the wrong patient, reported to the Joint Commission in 2008 (the last year for which data is available), making wrong-site surgery the most-reported sentinel event in 2008

Two thirds of blood transfusion errors are associated with incorrect recipient identification at the patient bedside.

There are several common wristband problems that contribute to patient identification errors. Leading problems include wristbands that are missing, damaged or contain illegible information. Sometimes wristbands are smudged or fade from the time they are printed. If bar codes are used, slight imperfections like these can easily make the symbols unreadable. Wristbands with no initial quality problems may become unreadable or fall off after several days of wear and exposure to common things like water, soap, alcohol and other sanitizers. Many of these quality problems and their causes are not readily apparent, but the medical error data previously referenced clearly shows some of the risks of poor wristband quality.

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How Durable Handheld Computers are Better Suited to the Mobile Workplace than Consumer-grade Smartphones

Posted November 19, 2010

Mobility in the workplace is growing exponentially all around the world. “Companies continue to expand their mobile workforces, as increasingly capable and affordable technology becomes available in the form of high performance handheld devices connected to faster and more reliable wireless networks,” states industry analyst J. Gold Associates. According to VDC Research, “The global mobile workforce is comprised of 200 million knowledge workers and over 500 million task workers.”

What does this business mobility look like? “More and more types of workers are working away from the home office,” says Sheldon Safir, director of marketing at Motorola, “and the whole reason is to increase productivity.” Field sales forces and workforces can be away from the office for weeks at a time. But mobility is about more than simply being out of the office. More workers and managers are also getting out from behind their desks and working where they’re most needed. Retail sales associates are helping customers in multiple departments throughout the store. Warehouse workers are constantly on the move around indoor spaces larger than multiple football fields. And there’s one thing these and other mobile workers have in common.

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Mobile Printing Requirements for Direct Store Delivery (DSD) Applications

Posted November 17, 2010

Selecting the best available mobile printer for the direct-store-delivery (DSD) application is as critical as the mobile computer selection.

Rugged mobile thermal printers’ benefits over impact technology are significant and include:

  • Smaller, more portable footprint
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Battery life

By David Krebs, VDC Research Analyst

Direct store delivery (DSD) is a key method of selling and distributing products for a variety of industries and especially for high volume food and beverage products. DSD is a business process that manufacturers use to both sell and distribute goods directly to point of sale (PoS) or point of consumption (PoC) including additional product and market related services such as merchandising, surveying and data collection, campaign management or collecting competitive intelligence.

Mobile printing is increasingly central to any effective DSD solution as it saves times over manually creating invoices and allows drivers to spend more time on merchandising and sales. In addition, DSD operations leverage mobile printers to support on-demand printing of variable information and are increasingly personalizing the content for greater value add. Mobile printing solutions enable DSD drivers to create accurate updated orders, pick lists, delivery receipts, invoices, settlement reports and other documentation. In addition to the time saving benefits associated with mobile printing – printing can reduce time spent on invoicing by as much as two thirds – it also ensures increased documentation accuracy.

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Rugged Mobile Computers — Which Operating System Is Right For You?

Posted July 16, 2010

A White Paper By Datalogic Mobile Inc.

Introduction

Mobile computers have become ubiquitous in the enterprise, from the warehouse floor to the boardroom. Thanks to advancements in processor speeds, reductions in cost, and the development of robust and reliable wireless local and wide-area networks, an increasing number of businesses have deployed mobile devices across a wide array of applications — warehouse management, sales force automation, field service, point of sale, and others.

Because mobile computers must, in many cases, communicate in real time with back-end business systems, the mobile operating systems (OS) on these devices play a key role in the successful integration of mobile applications with the wider corporate IT infrastructure. In the case of rugged or semi-rugged mobile devices targeted at vertical applications, the OS of choice has been Microsoft Windows CE.

However, over the past several years, new OS platform options have emerged from both Microsoft and other providers that have made the mobile operating system landscape more complicated. Since a mobile computing deployment can have significant security, productivity, and IT ramifications on the business, a careful approach to OS selection will help ensure a successful implementation and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of these devices.

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Patient Wristbanding: The Advantages of Thermal over Laser Solutions

Posted June 10, 2010

Executive Summary

Bar code systems help hospitals deliver accurate information in a variety of patient care and clinical settings, making them an important component in improving patient safety and process efficiencies. Therefore, these systems should be developed and executed with care, using dedicated printers that are optimized to provide reliable, accurate bar code output.

When hospitals evaluate their patient wristbanding solution, they often consider modifying existing laser printing systems to do the job. While many laser printers are capable of outputting bar codes, dedicated thermal printers are a more reliable, efficient and cost-effective option.

This white paper will explain the differences in thermal versus laser printing for patient wristbanding in hospitals and will provide an overview of the four reasons thermal printing is a better solution, including:

  • Enhanced Patient Safety

  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership

  • Patient Comfort

  • Ease of Use

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How Mobile Printing Benefits Warehouse Operations

Posted June 8, 2010

Mobile Printers

Executive Summary

To maintain accuracy and efficiency in warehouses and distribution centers, bar coding and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems are indispensable. Businesses can enhance these benefits by using mobile printers to produce and attach bar code and RFID labels at the point of application. Supplementing stationary bar code and RFID printing operations with mobile printers can reduce operator errors, streamline operations associated with labeling in inconvenient locations, and eliminate costs associated with correcting errors.

Using mobile printers to eliminate the distance that workers travel to pick up labels can boost productivity, often providing a full return on investment (ROI) in less than a year when used in warehouse, distribution center, and other industrial environments. The ROI is especially strong for facilities with existing wireless LANs, because a relatively small incremental investment in mobile printers creates new ways to increase efficiency, reduce operator errors, and leverage the wireless infrastructure investment.

RFID is an automatic identification technology that relies on radio frequency (RF) waves to read encoded digital data. RFID is similar to bar code technology in concept. Unlike a bar code, RFID does not require a visible tag or label to read its stored data.

This white paper shows where it makes sense to supplement bar code and RFID labeling operations with wireless and/or mobile printers by:

  • Identifying common operating procedures in warehouses and distribution centers that mobile/wireless printing can improve.

  • Illustrating how businesses can prevent common operator labeling errors by printing at the point of activity.

  • Providing real-world examples of how mobile printing systems have improved operations.

  • Presenting formulas and guidance for creating an ROI calculation.

  • Describing how mobile printers can be integrated with wireless LANs and batch operating systems.

  • Presenting an overview of mobile printing technology and capabilities.

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Achieving PCI DSS v1.2 Compliance on Wireless Printers

Posted May 11, 2010

Executive Summary

The challenges of meeting Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards and the horror stories of failing to comply continue to grow. Security breaches at several major retailers have resulted in estimated costs of as high as $1 billion per retailer. The U.S. Identity Theft Protection Act has established fines of up to $11,000 per customer record for databases breaches. In fact, 14 percent of retailers have suffered a breach and only 28 percent of retailers are fully compliant with PCI requirements, according to the Retail Systems Alert Group 2006-2007 Retail Data Security study. Since that study, retailers are taking notice, and compliance rates are steadily increasing.

Merchants who do not comply are at risk for fines, higher processing fees and even the loss of card-processing privileges. PCI implementation costs are a major concern for many businesses, even if the cost of noncompliance is potentially so much higher. Consider that the cost of new preventative measures only averages 4 percent of the total breach cost, or $180,000.1

Amid these concerns, it is easy for retailers to lose sight of both the big picture and important details. PCI compliance is a major milestone, but it is only a means to an end of having secure processes, networks, data, devices, and peripherals. If a single networked device is non-compliant, the entire network and the retail information systems behind it are all non-compliant. This is why protecting peripherals is an essential, if somewhat overlooked, component of PCI compliance.

This white paper explains how PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) version 1.2 applies to wireless peripherals and presents options for including secure wireless printers in PCI-compliant wireless networks.

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Bar Code Printing Options for Zebra Printers with Oracle WMS and MSCA

Posted May 6, 2010

Zebra

Executive Summary

Bar code output from the Oracle E-Business Suite® environment is traditionally accomplished through third-party software. However, Oracle’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Mobile Supply Chain Applications (MSCA) offer a new approach that can simplify bar code label printing. Oracle WMS and MSCA produce output in XML data streams, instead of a proprietary Oracle format. Zebra Technologies has embedded an XML parser in its XML-enabled printers, so output from Oracle WMS and MSCA is natively understood by the printer without additional middleware or server hardware. The graphic below illustrates the system architectures and components required for bar code output from Oracle WMS and MSCA using the middleware and Zebra direct connection approaches.

This white paper describes the middleware and direct-connect bar code printing options for Oracle WMS and MSCA, explains the system requirements for each, and provides guidance as to when each approach is best suited to particular environments.

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The Motorola MC9500-K mobile computer: Re-defining field mobility — even in demanding environments

Posted November 9, 2009

Motorola MC9500-K

The challenge: the cost of a disconnected field workforce

The productivity of your field workforce is tied directly to the bottom line of the business — regardless of whether your field teams interact directly with your customers or are focused on maintenance of crucial business infrastructure such as pipelines and cable or telephone networks. If workers do not have access to everything they need to complete the service call on the first visit — from maintenance history to the parts database and equipment schematics — the cost of doing business increases and future sales may be lost. If timely maintenance is not scheduled or multiple truck rolls are required to complete a work order, not only is the cost of day-to-day operations increased, but also infrastructure downtime increases the cost of your products and services — reducing margins and customer satisfaction.

In order to protect the health of your business, your field workers need to operate at peak efficiency — yet they are out in the field, disconnected from the customer and equipment information required to act in real time. Paper forms must be used to collect information for a wide variety of transactions — and that information must then be entered into the computer upon return to the office. As a result, time is inserted into your business processes, creating lag times that reduce service levels, employee productivity, cash flow and overall profitability. The need to touch the data twice increases the opportunity for costly errors that again impact business efficiency. In addition, field workers are forced to phone the office for simple information requests — such as pricing, inventory and invoice information, directions and more — again injecting time and cost into business processes. And if cell phones, standalone GPS devices, cameras and more are utilized out in the field, the enterprise must purchase and manage multiple mobile devices per worker, increasing costs — and life for the field becomes more complex, reducing productivity.

The solution: a real-time field workforce for real business advantage

Field mobility addresses these issues by eliminating the gap between the voice and data networks in the office and your workers out in the field — with just a single device. With an integrated voice and data mobile computer in hand, your workers have what it takes to achieve maximum productivity — the tools required to automate every day processes as well as act in real time. End-to-end field service cycle times are reduced — out in the field as well as for the tangential processes inside your four walls.

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The Mobile Warehouse: Staging and Shipping

Posted October 22, 2009

Staging and Shipping

Reduce Inaccurate Shipments

When it comes to staging and shipping, accuracy is everything.

In a mobile warehouse with real-time access to data, decision-making is easier and staging lanes and shipping docks operate smoothly.

Streamline the Staging and Shipping Process

By integrating mobile technology into your shipping process you can increase efficiencies, reduce errors and cut down on processing time. Utilizing a handheld mobile computer, you can bring staging, loading and dispatch transactions to real time — all while directing and confirming pallet movements. You even have real-time visibility of the docks and doors for timelier decision making.

In addition, our two-way digital radio systems give you the option of using voice or text commands to coordinate shipping. What’s more, the system’s Location Services application allows you to track and coordinate the movement of vehicles and employees at a busy loading dock.

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