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Hospital Labs are Doing More with Barcodes

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Hospitals are using barcodes to accurately identify and track specimens when they are received at the lab for testing and processing. This identification process is the solution to ensuring the correct results for each individual patient when updating their medical records, to achieve the highest standard of care.
The importance of accurate tests and tracking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7 billion tests are run each year in hospital labs throughout the United States. This is the contributing factor in more than 70% of all medical decisions.

One of the major challenges hospital labs face when working with this vast number of tests is the ability to accurately label and track laboratory specimens throughout the lab process to avoid the chance of misidentification errors.

A tragic example of why traceability is so important in hospital labs occurred in January 2003, when United Hospital of Minnesota revealed that a mistake had been made when a patient’s biopsy slides and paperwork were “mixed up” with another patient’s records. The result was, the wrong patient went through a double mastectomy. The woman also suffered from infections and was forced to endure more surgeries, in addition to the emotional trauma from a procedure that should have never happened.

Hospitals initially started using barcodes within a specific department for a basic purpose. There is a growing trend in the healthcare industry, in part due to HIPAA compliance, to use barcode systems for identification and tracking from one department to another as well as in isolated department applications.

Within the past decade, patient safety and precision patient care have increasingly become the focus for healthcare organizations across the country. This focus has gone beyond administration and the point-of-care into the laboratory.
Barcodes are a reliable tool
Barcodes are a reliable tool for the identification and tracking of specimens when they are moved between departments, processed within the lab itself and when they are shipped to an outside facility for further testing or storage. Barcode systems are also commonly used in hospital labs to track assets, simplify inventory control, reorder supplies and automate administrative tasks. All of this makes it possible to make sound medical decisions and keep a tighter control of the hospitals assets.

Barcodes can help your hospital lab effectively and efficiently track specimens and samples, which will keep a tighter control of medical information to ensure the best quality of care possible to your patients. Quality care relies on sound information and traceability.

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Improve Patient Safety with one of our Healthcare Solutions.