The Nebraska Hospital Association recent awarded the Fremont Area Medical Center in Fremont and the Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte with its 2012 Quest for Excellence award in part because both facilities are now leveraging barcode software and other automated data collection systems.
The awarded organizations each received $1,000 for providing examples of how to improve patient care in Nebraska with new technology and other workflow efficiencies. For example, the Fremont Area Medical Center was commended for its non-fatal blood transfusion program. The facility was able to dramatically shorten the amount of time needed to transfer blood supplies from laboratory settings to the center for use.
The Nebraska Hospital Association awarded the Great Plains Regional Medical Center because the medical care facility used barcode software to decrease the number of medication errors. Laurie Ryan, the facility's director of performance and clinical outcomes, told The North Platte Bulletin that approximately one out of every four errors in hospital settings is due to medication administration blunders, which proves the value of their barcode data collection system.
"GPRMC has successfully implemented medication barcode scanning which has improved patient safety by reducing the number of medication administration errors occurring in our facility," the center said in its application for the award. "Decreasing medication errors and increasing scanning compliance rates show that this change is sustainable and has been hardwired into the workflow of the nursing staff. This initiative is an excellent example of GPRMC's mission to provide the kind of health care we would want for our families, in partnership with those we serve."
Why Barcode Data Collection Software is so Vital in Healthcare
The use case exemplified by the Great Plains Regional Medical Center is just one example of the benefits that medical care providers can realize by utilizing automated data collection and barcode software. According to a guide written by the healthcare IT nonprofit organization HIMSS, human error is inevitable in every industry. While the issues prevalent in manual processes are relatively minimal in certain instances, that is not the case in healthcare because of the patient risk that can be caused by mistakes. As a result, hospitals are other care providers need to implement automated data collection software to make sure patients receive the best treatment possible.
"Healthcare professionals learn early in their careers that when humans read or transcribe information there is a small but very real error rate," the HIMSS report said. "However, with training, procedural checks, double checks and well-designed processes, it is generally accepted that such errors will be caught and corrected before any real damage is done."