NHS introduce barcode technology to save money, and lives.

March 3, 2017
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Barcode’s have been around for years, so by now we could assume that their usefulness has been maximised, right? Well that would be wrong, as The Department of Health now say that the latest in barcode technology has the potential to save the NHS up to 1 billion pounds over the next seven years.

The latest in barcode technology can greatly benefit the healthcare sector

Barcode technology that is used in retail and major industries such as Aerospace is being introduced to the NHS in England to improve patient safety. The idea is to use barcodes to trace patients and their treatments, manage medical supplies and safely monitor the effectiveness of equipment.

The initiative, named Scan4Safety, helps staff to efficiently track a patient’s hospital journey, from barcodes on wristbands and medication, to a new hip or breast implant. Each unique code will show which member of staff administered the treatment, at what time and where.

As well as being a more efficient method of cataloguing, patient safety will benefit greatly from the plans in place. Any equipment used in an operation that has the potential to develop a fault, i.e. a screw in a knee implant, can be easily traced and monitored. Such accuracy will also limit human mistakes quickly and easily, such as making sure the patient gets the correct drugs and dosage.

Pilot scheme

Scan4safety is currently being piloted in Derby, Leeds, Salisbury, Cornwall, North Tees and Plymouth. Early results report that the scheme reduces unnecessary waste, efficiently manages medical stocks, and saves valuable staff time. By removing the potential for human errors when cataloguing equipment, and freeing up around 1 hour per day that nurses usually spend looking for stock, Scan4Safety allows staff to dedicate more care and attention to patients.

Such positive impacts combined with the removal of potentially fatal errors indicate Scan4Safety has the potential to save both a lot of money, and a lot of lives. So there you go, the latest in barcode technology helping to make a more effective, efficient healthcare system. Who said barcodes were boring, eh?

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