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Bar Coded Wrist Bands are Healthy Solution to Hospital’s Tracking Procedure

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra Wristband Printers

Challenge: South Central Regional Medical Center needed to keep up-to-date with technology to provide their patients the utmost in care. They needed a system that would allow them to verify the patient’s identity before performing any procedures in the facility.

Solution: The Medical Center installed Zebra® Stripe® thermal transfer printers to print Z-Band™ wristbands. All wristbands are printed with the patient’s name, identification number, date of birth and gender. This same information is also embedded in a bar code along with the patient’s accounting charge number. The wristbands are clearly readable, easily scannable and more durable than traditional methods.

Application: Various departments throughout the hospital also use the bar code printers. For example, from a nursing station, a doctor issues orders specifying which tests need to be performed on which patients. This generates bar coded labels on the Stripe printers in Hematology. The hematologists take the labels to the patient floor and scan the patient’s wristbands to verify the patients’ identity. When a specimen is collected, it is labeled at bedside to ensure positive identification. The labeled samples are brought back to the lab where the various tests are performed. Once the tests are completed, the scanner releases the patient information into the hospital computer to update the patient’s chart.

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Pioneering Radio Frequency Tagging for Positive Patient Identification

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra Patient WristbandsIn 2004 and 2005 alone, the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) faced over £400 million (about $616.2 million) worth of clinical negligence claims. One of the key causes being patient misidentification. The National Patient Safety Agency states this causes 19% of all hospital errors.

UK Government estimates that errors associated with mistaken identity costs the NHS approximately £2 billion (about $3.1 billion) in extra bed days. Similarly, the NHS continues to come under attack for inefficiency. Despite this, many hospitals have been unable to improve accountability with any significant results. Operation delays are one of patients’ top complaints. Currently there is an estimated 80 minutes per day wasted due to slowness in getting patients to theatre on time.

The Birmingham Heartlands Hospital is part of The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. It is one of the largest in England serving half a million people and caring for 574,000 patients a year. In this busy hospital environment, information accuracy is essential for providing the best possible patient care. Determined to reduce errors and improve efficiency, The Birmingham Heartlands Hospital needed to develop a new system for managing patient identification through the operation process.

Radio tagging to avoid misidentification
“We wanted to take advantage of the latest technology to implement new patient safety standards and improve the efficiency of our operating theaters,” said consultant surgeon David Morgan. “We rely on patients’ wristbands to give us the right information to provide every aspect of their treatment from administering medication, transfusing blood to carrying out surgical procedures. Given its critical role in patient care, any system we developed had to based around the RFID wristband.”

Heartlands Hospital worked with Zebra to develop a new process that used technology to drive patient safety and efficiency. The resulting solution combines Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging with real-time process software using PDAs and Zebra® printers and wristbands. When admitted, the patient is photographed and given a printed wristband with an embedded RFID tag. The patient’s digital image is part of the patient record identification through the operation process.

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Baylor Health Care Standardizes Par Management

Posted October 13, 2010

Motorola MC70The company: Baylor Health Care System
The Baylor Health Care System of Dallas-Fort Worth has served its North Texas community for more than 100 years. Baylor provides a full range of inpatient, outpatient, rehabilitation and emergency medical services through owned, leased, or affiliated hospitals and surgical services at short-stay hospitals. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing, Baylor continues its mission as a non-profit with a focus on innovation and research.

The challenge: Standardized, efficient enterprise-wide inventory management
The Baylor Health Care System is committed to providing advanced health care options, treatments, and procedures to its patients. Baylor also provides strategic technology for departments to support that care.

“Materials and supply chain departments at our hospitals use Lawson software for inventory management, managing the pars in each of our facilities,” said Terry Worsham, Project Leader, Supply Chain Informatics, Baylor Health Care System. “However, some were using outdated handheld technology and some were doing these functions manually. So when it came time to upgrade our Lawson MSCM system, we saw the opportunity to standardize the equipment and processes across all of our hospital facilities,” Worsham said.

Baylor has over 400 pars spread across 12 hospitals with approximately 27,000 items in its Lawson catalog. Improving efficiency and reducing the costs of delivering supplies to end users were two key goals of standardizing the inventory system.

Baylor Supply Chain Informatics also wanted to implement a solution that would streamline support. The Informatics team was providing on-site support for the old hardware at each hospital, and this was inefficient in terms of staff resources and time.

The solution: Motorola enterprise digital assistants (EDA) running Lawson software
The Baylor Supply Chain Informatics team, IS team, and materials managers from Baylor hospitals did hands-on evaluations of several mobile computers including the Motorola MC70 EDA.

“Lawson told us that they recommended the Motorola MC70. We also talked with other Lawson clients, and a lot of them preferred the MC70,” Worsham said.

“We tried out several alternatives, and in the end we liked that the MC70 was so feature rich,” Worsham explained. “The scanning capabilities and the size and weight of the MC70 make it easy to use and the keypads are easy and functional. Unlike some of the devices we considered, the MC70 offers choices like the optional pistol grip. We liked that the MC70 enabled us to offer our employees choices, too,” he stated.

Rudy Martinez, Business Analyst II, Supply Chain Informatics, at Baylor Health Care System emphasized the value of the ruggedness of the MC70. “When I did demonstrations at the facilities, the first thing the employees asked was ‘is it durable?’ We actually dropped an MC70 on the floor—the employees were scared, but the mobile computer was fine, not even a scrape,” Martinez said.

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Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Turns to 2-D Bar Codes at Bedside

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra LP 2844Challenge
An early adopter of healthcare IT, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) began implementing bar coding for bedside medication verification in 2007 as part of its organization-wide initiative to enhance patient safety.

SVMC—which operates a 99-bed flagship facility along with rehabilitation, long-term care, hospice and home care, advanced cancer treatment, and primary care services—received funding support for this initiative through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Even though the incidence of errors was rare at SVMC, the project aims to decrease the potential for medication transcription and administration mistakes through the use of bar coding and e-MAR technologies.

According to Charles Still, senior systems analyst at SVMC, the key to a successful implementation lies in helping nurses and clinicians verify patient identification and medications with the greatest possible ease and reliability. “We reviewed both bar code symbologies and print technologies thoroughly in light of the needs of our patients, clinicians and the hospital mission,” says Still. “Each symbology has its own pros and cons.
The same is true for standard laser printers and thermal printers.We knew our decisions in each of these areas could affect ease of use and reliability of both patient identification and medication scanning at the bedside.”

Solution
For patient identification and medication labeling, SVMC opted for two-dimensional (2-D) bar codes over linear bar codes. Two-dimensional bar codes—in SVMC’s case, the Data Matrix format—provide more flexibility than linear codes. Still offers three primary reasons for the decision.

First, ease of use is crucial because a cumbersome scanning process can lead to workarounds that jeopardize patient care. Linear symbologies are larger, and therefore harder to scan on a curved wristband. Because smaller 2-D symbols are readable from any angle and can be repeated around the length of the wristband, there’s often no need to disturb a sleeping patient just to get a positive scan. “If a nurse is administering an IV drug late at night, he or she can scan any spot on the wristband, from any angle, and get a positive patient identification,” says Still.

Second, error rates for 2-D symbologies are 10 to 20 times lower than for linear codes. Perhaps more importantly, 2-D images can withstand more wrinkling and damage and still remain readable.

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Printing Solutions Improves Patient Security and Efficiency

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra TLP 2844 PrinterThe Challenge
Patient security is a key medical sector challenge. It includes verifying and identifying everything that can affect a patient during their hospital stay. Good patient security guarantees that the right patient gets the correct diagnosis and treatment. Having an integrated system for marking, identifying and tracking blood tests is a significant step towards being able to guarantee that patients receive their relevant test results. This in turn leads to appropriate treatment at the correct dose.

Previously, when Karolinska doctors sent blood, plasma or tissue to the laboratory, this was a manual process. Laboratory orders labels were printed from a regular laser printer. A whole sheet of labels was needed just to print a single label. This was an unnecessary waste of resources. Additionally the printed labels were not logged into the hospital’s journal system. This resulted in mistakes.

More efficient handling of laboratory tests
Karolinska needed to improve their handling of tests sent to laboratories. Back in 2003, Karolinska Sjukhuset in Solna went from using regular laser printers for blood test labelling, to using Zebra® desktop printers. The system was gradually expanded and now covers all of Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset. A cost effective and safe solution was needed. The Zebra® TLP 2844 desktop printer was chosen as ideal for printing test tube labels, emergency room ID tags and patient records. Today Karolinksa deploys more than 2000 TLP 2844 desktop printers!

A journal system called TakeCare enables Karolinska hospital personnel to follow up on a patient’s health care history, from anywhere in the hospital that it’s held. This greatly reduces the risk for providing the wrong treatment due to incomplete information. Zebra® printers are used for labelling orders for blood, plasma and tissue tests to be sent for analysis. They are also used for patient labels and ID-bands for acute cases. When a doctor orders a blood, plasma or tissue test, he enters the order into the TakeCare system, which in turn generates a barcode and a LID (laboratory identity) number.

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Patient ID wristbands dramatically improve patient safety

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra LP 2824-Z Printer

The Challenge
The National Healthcare Center 10 in Florence is dedicated to safeguarding patients during their treatment at any of its facilities. As a result the Florence authority, together with seven other healthcare centers in Tuscany (Careggi, Empoli, Grosseto and Siena) organized a patient identification campaign which was fully supported by the Regional Center for Clinical Risk Management.

The Regional Center for Clinical Risk Management is responsible for identifying key health service areas that need improving. 2.6% of laboratory errors stem from incorrect patient identification, while 67% of blood transfusion errors are linked to the use of the wrong blood components. Key factors in accident and emergency (A&E) medicine are: unique patient characteristics (e.g. foreign patients with complicated names), time dependent medical procedures, a change of hospital staff during patients’ treatments and the completion of multiple cases during the same surgery session.

Key to all these errors was the inability to correctly identify the treatment. Therefore it was necessary to build and implement a technology solution that could guarantee correct patient identification as well as improve communication between medical staff.

The Solution
Run by Zebra, the project’s first phase focused on clarifying the best instruments for optimizing patient identification. A survey was carried out to identify benefits and challanges to a range of solutions used in other hospitals including: the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, the Niguarda Hospital in Milan and the Manzoni Hospital in Lecco.

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Wireless curbside check-in at Opryland Hotel

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra Cameo PrintersChallenge
Find an integrated solution that would allow us to have Web reservations and roving registration points, both for check-in and check-out.

Solution
Implement a Wireless solution that allows hotel agents to check-in and check-out guests, process credit cards, print receipts and program room keys anywhere in, or nearby, the hotel.

Product
Zebra Cameo PEP (Portable Encoding Printer)

Opryland Hotel Nashville, part of the Gaylord Entertainment Company, is the largest hotel convention center under one roof in the world with 2,883 guestrooms, 600,000 square feet of convention space, nine acres of indoor gardens, a quarter-mile indoor river, retail shops and restaurants. Over four million guests stay in the hotel annually.

Opryland, always actively searching for better ways to manage these high volumes of guests, has implemented a LANSA based Wireless solution that allows hotel agents to check-in and check-out guests, process credit cards, print receipts and program room keys at the curbside or anywhere else in or nearby the hotel.

The solution, LMS Wireless Express from LANSA solution partner Inter-American Data (IAD), has reduced queues at the reception desk and allows guests to check-in and check-out closer to where their room is.

Tom Xavier, director of front office operations, says, “Bringing together all the components of checking-in is essential to the success of this system. We are providing our guests with a fast, accurate, no-hassle service. Moving the front-desk functions to anywhere in the hotel is the key here.”

Challenge
John Eslick, Director of Strategic Systems Development Opryland, explains why Opryland felt a need to decentralize check-in procedures, “There were two main issues that prompted us to think about mobile check-in points. Firstly, when you normally think of a 3,000-room property you think of towers. We have only five floors and our rooms and facilities are spread out over a square mile.”

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The Bargain! Shop Updates Product Pricing in Seconds with In-Aisle Printing

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra QL 320 Printer

About The Bargain! Shop
The Bargain! Shop (TB!S) is a rapidly expanding, Canadian-owned retail chain with over 250 stores, located mainly in smaller communities and neighborhoods across the country. It carries a wide range of brand-name quality products for the home and family: electronics, housewares, gift items, home textiles, food and snacks, health and beauty, cleaning items, as well as clothing and footwear for the whole family. TB!S’ pricing policy is simple: It guarantees the lowest prices, everyday.

Challenge
Savvy shoppers do their homework. They’re looking for the best value—quality products for the lowest prices. TB!S consistently meets those customer demands by offering brand-name products at the guaranteed lowest prices. Those in small communities and neighborhoods across Canada go there for the best deals on everything from toasters to cameras to children’s clothing.

That means TB!S must constantly evaluate and change pricing in order to remain competitive. The store stocks about 60 percent of its inventory with items that shoppers can buy from week to week. New, rotating items comprise the remaining items—made available as TB!S finds deals and passes them on to customers.

With thousands of SKUs, changing frequently, TB!S needed a flexible pricing strategy. Previously, store clerks consulted the service desk for prices, and then selected from pre-printed shelf labels. Those labels only included a price without a product description, which often confused customers about which items corresponded with which shelf prices.

When TB!S executive Clinton Wolff, VP & CFO with responsibility for IT, worked in a store for a day, he saw firsthand the inefficiency of the approach. “Customers had to ask about prices, clerks made more trips to the service desk to verify pricing, and checking inventory took longer than necessary,” Wolff said.

Solution
Tied closely with the company’s point-of-sale and merchandise management system, the system is currently in use in all stores. It includes a wireless access point, Motorola® MC3090 series mobile terminals and Zebra® QL 320 wireless mobile printers. The main criteria for a printer were ease of use, portability and durability.

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Sisters of Mercy Health System Streamlines Supply Chain Operations and Reduces Medication Errors with Zebra

Posted October 13, 2010

Zebra Z4M

Challenge
Like other healthcare organizations, Sisters of Mercy Health System (Mercy) was concerned by the results of the 1999 study published by the Institute of Medicine, “To Err is Human,” which cited medication errors as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Administrators at St. Louis-based Mercy, the ninth largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation, suspected that any medication errors its hospitals experienced were less attributable to human error and instead more likely the result of inadequate internal processes.

Mercy decided to take a leadership role in reducing medication errors within its facilities. “We needed a way to help ensure that the right patient receives the right medication in the right dose at the right time,” says Curtis Dudley, executive director of optimization management for Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), Mercy’s supply chain operating division. “We believed most medication errors could be avoided by centralizing supply chain operations and implementing technology-based solutions such as bar coding.”

In response, representatives from a number of functional areas within Mercy, including nursing, the pharmacy, supply chain operations and IT, put their heads together to develop a more effective way to track medications throughout the supply chain-from the warehouse to the hospital pharmacy, nursing floors and, eventually, the patient.

Additionally, because pharmacists had to spend so much of their time checking that the correct medications were pulled from the pharmacy shelf, they had limited time to interact with physicians and patients. Mercy hoped that standardizing the pharmaceutical shipment process would enable its pharmacists to spend more time utilizing their expertise for patient care and less time on administrative tasks.

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Zebra Printer iPhone App Available Soon

Posted October 7, 2010

The ZebraLink Smartphone Utility for iPhone®, iPad™ and iPod touch® devices will soon be available for download to your iOS device from the Apple App Store!

Features include

  • Print a PDF or label template directly to a Zebra printer
  • Retrieve and print files from the Web
  • Take and print photos
  • Connect to a printer’s Web page
  • Check printer status
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