Each year, there are almost 1.5 million medication errors across the United States — approximately one every 21 seconds. Many of the mistakes — which doubled in the first decade of the new millennium — include wrong dosages and prescriptions written for the wrong medicine.
Most of the mistakes are down to human error — from the doctor prescribing the medication to the pharmacy providing it and even the individual taking it. To help consumers protect themselves from potential medication mishaps, experts recommend:
- Knowing your medication and side effects
- Asking questions and sharing concerns with your physician
- Keeping a list of all your medications and saving the information sheets that come with them
- Double-checking to make sure the medication and dosage is correct on the bottle before taking it
That is good advice. Unfortunately, it does not always work for the more than 1.4 million people that currently reside in nursing homes. Many of these individuals are suffering from dementia or otherwise lack the capacity to keep up with their medications.
And medication errors are just one piece of the puzzle.
Medical mistakes account for 210,000 to 400,000 deaths every year, making them the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Mislabeling specimens and even patients results in adverse patient events, including death, and costs facilities up to $2700 every month.
Fortunately, one simple and cost-effective tech tools can reduce errors and help nursing home facilities provide a higher standard of care for their residents — the barcode printer.
How Barcode Printing Can Improve Patient Care in Nursing Facilities
Interfacing with electronic health records (EHR), automation, and barcoding have all helped to reduce labeling and identification errors.
Simple to use and cost-efficient, barcode printers can help medical staff and other professionals improve patient care and safety with the application of proper, durable labels.
As noted earlier, proper medication labeling is critical for patient safety as the wrong medication can cause adverse events — or even death. A scannable, barcoded label can help match patient medications with patient records to ensure the medication is prescribed, stored, and dosed correctly.
Labels must be durable and water resistant to hold up to frequent handling and the adhesive must remain sticky under a number of conditions.
Patient wristbands are one way of identifying patients and providing critical information regarding their status. A quick scan of a barcoded wristband can reveal basic information about the patient including age, gender, medical conditions, and allergies. Color-coded barcodes can further expand wristband usefulness by allowing for “at a glance” information such as fall risks, latex allergies, the existence of a “do not resuscitate” order, a restricted extremity for blood draws, and more.
In 2012, a new guideline was developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reduce risks associated with medical specimen mislabeling. In the guideline, barcoding technology was put forth as a demonstrably positive way to avoid the mishaps that occur due to improperly labeled specimens. These issues included treatment delays, patient discomfort, and other adverse events that could contribute to a lower standard of patient care.
In short, an easy-to-use barcode printer can help nursing home staff properly label important information, from patient charts — and the patients themselves — to medicine, specimens, and even medical equipment. Proper labeling can speed up medical processes, reduce errors, and provide a better level of patient care for nursing home residents.
Blue Technologies Can Help You Implement Technology to Improve Patient Care
At Blue Technologies, we pride ourselves on partnering with leaders in cutting-edge technology to bring our healthcare clients the right tools to elevate patient care and reduce risks — without burdening their already strained budgets.
If you are ready to bring the versatility, efficiency, and organizational power of barcoding technology to your nursing home facility, our team of experts can help you determine your needs and challenges and source the right printer for the job at hand.
Elevate the level of patient care at your nursing home facility. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant and learn how simple and cost-effective it is to have an in-house barcode printer at your disposal.