Re-posted with permission from PDC Healthcare and edited.
Positive patient identification is the foundation for patient safety. Every patient, procedure, and department relies upon the patient’s wristband to accurately identify the patient. The wristband provides a critical link between the patient’s identity, electronic medical record, and treatment. Missing or illegible wristbands, barcodes that won’t scan and other issues pose serious implications to patient safety.
Unfortunately, ID system issues are sometimes viewed as unavoidable and go ignored.
Here are 5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Patient ID Wristband System
1. You’re experiencing frequent printer jams
Your staff members are just about finished getting a new patient settled. The patient is checked in, a staff member prints out the patient’s wristband, and…your printer jams. A printer jam may seem like a minor inconvenience, but recurring jams can be time consuming and frustrating for your staff and costly to the budget. And if you’re using a wristband cartridge printer, you may need to throw away the entire cartridge of remaining wristbands when there’s a jam. Meanwhile, your patients (who are likely experiencing pain or discomfort) are also forced to wait longer to be checked in.
2. Staff members are having issues scanning barcodes
The barcode on a patient ID wristband is an essential part of the overall patient ID system, communicating information vital to patient care. Without a functioning barcode, that patient ID wristband is essentially just a paper bracelet. The barcode needs to be read on the first scan, every time. Too often, staff members struggle with faded, crinkled, worn or otherwise illegible barcodes.
Illegible barcodes can be caused by printed wristbands wearing out prematurely (more on that below), but barcode issues can also be caused by your wristband printer: a damaged printhead or issues with ink/toner cartridges can lead to smudges or spots on the barcode. And, even the slightest imperfection can throw off the entire scan.
Consider the ISG line of thermal printers and wristbands for crisp, lasting barcodes.
3. Wristband print is fading or wearing off
When it comes to patient ID wristbands, lasting legibility is key. A patient requiring a longer stay shouldn’t need his or her wristband reprinted every few days. Too often, hospitals may write off occasional faded wristbands as an unavoidable frustration. If your wristbands are fading after only 3-4 days, it’s time to resolve the quality issue and consider a different solution.
If wristband failures are a problem at your facility, consider switching to a thermal-printed wristband, which are proven to resist fading and smudging for more than a week under normal use. Or, consider a more durable laser-printed wristband, such as DuraProtect™ Laser Wristbands from the ISG, which features a protective shield and paper-free construction for incredible durability and resistance.
4. Your staff members are using workarounds
Everyone loves a resourceful employee. However, when it comes to patient ID, you don’t want your employees to have to come up with creative solutions. A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the 3rd leading cause of death in the US is medical errors. If there’s a problem with your patient ID system that requires a workaround, it needs to be addressed immediately to eliminate the risk of human errors that can potentially lead to medical errors.
Workarounds are also, by nature, far less efficient than your automated process. The time your staff members spend trying to tinker with a broken patient ID system would be better spent caring for patients. Finally, patient ID workarounds may lead to your facility running afoul of regulatory bodies, putting your compliance status at risk.
5. You haven’t implemented barcoding for your main admit bands
Some hospitals still use patient ID wristbands that are handwritten or don’t have a printed barcode. Barcode wristbands make it easy to verify a patient’s identity and ensure he or she is receiving the right medication. The barcode on a patient ID wristband is a safety device, ensuring the patient is being cared for appropriately.
Without a printed barcode, caring for the patient becomes more inefficient. It’s more difficult to manually make note of medications or wellness checks, and leaves a facility open to human error. Also, using wristbands without barcodes fail to meet Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) standards for electronic medical records, a critical component of a modern facility.
It’s Time to Take Action with Help from the ISG
So you’ve decided that you’re ready to take the next step. This is where your local ISG Patient ID expert can help make recommendations from their patient ID product options. The ISG has more than four decades of experience implementing identification and patient safety solutions. Your local ISG dealers are ready to provide training, guidance upon implementation, and ongoing support to help your facility.
Do any of the problems above hit a little too close to home? If so, it’s time to upgrade your patient ID system! You owe it to your staff and patients to upgrade to a system that works best for you and your facility. The ISG has decades of experience delivering quality patient ID systems to healthcare facilities across the United States and Canada.
The ISG offers PDC Healthcare products are used in more than 90% of US hospitals, and nobody understands the critical role of positive patient identification better than us. Partner with the ISG to upgrade your system to provide better care for your patients and make things easier on your staff.
Don’t put it off any longer.