White Paper

It's All In The Wrist: Improving Patient Safety With Bar Code Wristbands

Source: Zebra Technologies

Identifying patients with bar coded wristbands is a first step healthcare organizations can take to make these improvements. Checking the "Five Rights"—Right Patient, Right Medication, Right Dose, Right Time and Right Method of Administration—prevents most medication errors. But all too often, the five rights check is flawed because it fails to guarantee the right patient. Today, approximately 5 percent of patient wristbands are erroneous or missing altogether. Missing, poor-quality, and incorrect wristbands are a major contributing factor to many adverse events.

Bar coded patient wristbands provide the necessary foundation for preventing errors by ensuring accurate patient information is always available at the point of care. Bar code wristbands will improve the effectiveness of five rights checks for medication administration and provide a platform to extend safeguards to other patient care activities.

Automated medication administration, electronic health records, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), bar code point-of-care (BPOC) and other automated procedures for improving patient care all rely on accurate input that bar coding can provide. This white paper will explain the role wristbands can play in improving patient safety and freeing nurses and other valuable medical personnel from paperwork and clerical tasks.