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Wristband Formatting Best Practices

Posted March 19, 2012

Key Considerations for Improving Patient Care

Bar coded patient wristbands are an excellent way for medical centers to improve the safety and quality of care while meeting industry mandates. To gain the most benefit, the information provided on the wristband must afford easy readability, and deliver the right information in the right way. Healthcare personnel who are starting to look at a patient ID solution need to know the key considerations of patient wristbands from a formatting perspective. This is especially crucial during the first 30 days of looking at a patient ID solution.

Like any technology or process, following proven best practices helps ensure a smooth transition to deployment and beyond. The purpose of this white paper is to help healthcare IT staff launch the right wristband system with the right format. Proper wristband formatting makes it easier for nurses and clinicians to perform patient care tasks so that there is no need for workarounds. The result is improved efficiency and quality of care—medical staff is more productive, there are fewer chances for errors, and nurses can provide more focused attention to their patients.
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The Nebraska Medical Center Saves Time, Improves Nurse Workflow

Posted December 14, 2009

On average, medication administration accounts for 26 to 32 percent of adult patient medication errors in hospitals, according to the Institute of Medicine. To reduce incidents, hospitals are increasingly moving toward bar code medication administration (BCMA) systems to electronically scan patient wristbands for positive patient identification to reduce preventable adverse drug events.

Before implementing BCMA, The Nebraska Medical Center manually created patient wristbands. The only means a nurse had to positively identify a patient was to verbally confirm the patient’s name and date of birth, and visually compare their responses to the information printed on the wristband. For incoherent patients (critical care, infants, etc.) this manual validation was not even possible, increasing the risk for a preventable adverse drug event to occur.

The hospital realized that BCMA could add a layer of patient safety by leveraging technology to verify and validate patient-specific information. But in order to fully leverage the BCMA system, The Nebraska Medical Center needed a printing solution that could simultaneously produce both two-dimensional bar codes as well as linear bar codes—a capability that existing laser printers lacked. It also needed to print two bar code types on each band; one for positive patient ID and the other to facilitate glucometer device readings.

With the BCMA go-live date soon approaching, the hospital had to select and implement new printers quickly. Considering the hospital’s two-dimensional requirements, they went with Zebra Technologies.

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