Creating Clarity at Point of Care
Guest Corner

Creating Clarity at Point of Care

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 By Inderpreet Singh

Head – Barcode and Supplies, India & Subcontinent, Zebra Technologies

Driven by rising incomes, greater health awareness, lifestyle diseases and increasing access to insurance, the healthcare sector in India is expected to grow to $158.2 billion in 2017 from $78.6 billion in 2012, a report* has said. Other reports place this progress at a compounded growth rate of 15 percent, with nearly 90 percent of this growth coming from private sector.

The overall Indian healthcare market is around $65 billion and has grown 11% in the past five years. However, India remains a highly underpenetrated market in terms of healthcare spending per capita and offers huge growth potential. India’s growing population, increased incidence of diseases, greater affordability, expanding insurance coverage and supportive government schemes are the key drivers of high double-digit growth expectations of the PE industry, another report** said.

In the rapidly growing healthcare market, reputation is key as consumers exercise choice in where to go or make their voice heard.  Patients’ safety remains a serious global public health issue. Healthcare organizations are continuing to turn to technology to improve quality of care for patients, and private and public hospitals will invest extensively in installing, maintaining and upgrading IT capabilities to increase operational efficiency, clinical outcomes and financial profitability.

When considering technology deployment in the healthcare space, service providers should look into solutions that seamlessly integrate into existing healthcare systems and give a virtual voice to patients, clinicians and assets to improve visibility into patient information and status. Technology can also guide busy staff on the correct course of action, thereby greatly improving safety and quality of care.  Some underserved areas of care to consider are:

Starting Right with Admissions

Many healthcare providers, particularly public hospitals and clinics, often handle large amounts of patient cases every day. As patient volume rises, hospitals are increasingly faced with the challenge of ensuring that they continue to deliver safe and efficient patient care. It is specifically in situations like this where solutions like patient wristbands can help. In busy emergency rooms or even for scheduled surgeries, patients should be provided with barcoded, antimicrobial-coated, long-lasting wristbands so that they can be accurately identified throughout their hospital stay. During disaster recovery situations, a hospital or onsite temporary facility can quickly and also accurately identify, track, and secure personnel, victims, and assets by providing patients with wristbands, allowing for quick reunification with loved ones. Wristband print solutions have evolved rapidly and have become the most effective way to enable immediate and accurate access to critical patient information at the bedside and across various departments.

Eliminate Identification Errors

According to the College of American Pathologists, specimen labeling errors account for more than 55.5 percent of identification errors every year. Identification errors such as the switching, mislabeling, or incorrect display of test specimens or results are the leading cause of wrong site surgery. To dramatically reduce errors, many hospitals have chosen to bring barcoding to the point of care. Providing barcoded identification to caregivers, specimen takers, medication providers and even nutrition providers not only prevents identification errors, it also enables a valid and easily traceable electronic trail in the event of issues arising. Using barcoding for identification and verification at the bedside reduces the number of errors quickly and easily. Later in the laboratory, those barcodes can be scanned to record transfers and create accurate test result entries. Beyond point of care clarity, eliminating manual data entry also drastically eliminates errors, cuts costs and saves time.

The Right Medication to the Right Person at the Right Time

In hospital pharmacies, barcode solutions allow hospitals to add variable data to every drug at the unit-dose level. These barcode labels are scanned immediately to verify and record medication dispensing, as well as check patient identification against the prescription order to ensure the correct medication in the correct dosage is administered to the correct patient. This not only protects patients, but also streamlines patient record processes. Such barcode solutions also directly address drug theft which is also on the increase. Some facilities have even deployed tamper resistant desktop printers with special prescription paper to ensure the protection and proper dispensation of drugs.

Simple but thorough deployments of the solutions discussed above assist in implementing closed-loop practices by using barcode technologies at the patient’s bedside and linking critical patient information to medical records across hospital departments. Solutions such as these can also help ease compliance with regulatory requirements, such as electronic health records.

With rising demand and growing patient volume outpacing the increase in healthcare resources, healthcare administrators should consider the use of technology across the facility to ensure the creation of efficiencies and clarity, which, in turn enable their staff to provide proper care.

*Source – Equantis capital

**Source – Bain Report

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