In this first installment of a two-part series, learn how barcodes simplify access to electronic health records (EHR), which improves accuracy and productivity. The second installment will examine the benefits and costs associated with the implementation of an EHR system.
The drive to reduce healthcare costs is intersecting with the rise of reliable and prominent mobile technologies, and at that intersection is the continuous growth of medical imaging. Healthcare providers are increasingly moving medical imaging documents and health records online in order to increase efficiency and productivity.
Barcode usage in hospitals and other medical offices has been steadily increasing. Many hospitals print barcoded bracelets for patients to encode their name or identification number. These bracelets come in varying forms and ensure accurate identification, regardless of whether a patient is able to provide that information themselves. For example, the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) bracelets contain a magnetic signal, which can be accessed to provide information, and typically also include a barcode.
Barcoded medicines and patient bracelets can be easily combined for a discernible drop in incorrect dosages. The Institute of Medicine estimates the cost of adverse drug events at $2 billion per year in the United States. This is a result of incorrect dosages and other administrative errors related to patient and dosage timing. Today, many prescriptions also come printed with barcodes confirming the correct dosage with the patient.
Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that the use of barcodes in conjunction with an electronic medication-administration (eMAR) system regulates the administration of drugs and significantly reduces medication administration errors.
Medical professionals can now use mobile devices to access patient data on-the-go, rather than relocating to a kiosk or carrying around printouts. The technology of everyday smartphones and tablets can be integrated with a mobile imaging SDK and an EHR system for instant access to medical records with the scan of a barcode. For more information on software development toolkits (SDKs) with barcode recognition for mobile devices, check out Barcode Xpress Mobile.
Part 2 of this series will look at how and why hospitals and medical centers around the country are investing in EHR systems. It will also examine the problems encountered and the major benefits involved with EHR.
Are you a medical professional who uses barcode scanning daily or who wishes that barcodes were more integrated in your workplace? Share your stories below in the comments!