As we apply information technology to healthcare applications we quickly see the emergence of this common tracking objective. In fact, it can be stated that the goal of tracking patients, medications and data is already playing a significant role in healthcare’s evaluation and adoption of IT. Tracking starts with capturing unique identification, a bar code for example, and ends with reliable access to data. The start and end of this tracking ecosystem is connected by reliable and secure communications. The resulting improvements in patient safety and reduced operating costs are specifically tied to the ability to apply these common tracking principles to the unique requirements of the hospital environment.
Tracking patients, medications and data through positive identification has risen substantially on the healthcare agenda since the year 2000 when the Institute of Medicine launched its landmark report, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. The IOM’s findings delivered shocking estimates regarding the occurrence and effect of medical errors.