Patient Wristband Barcodes – Pass

I recently had several visits to a Boston area hospital as a patient. I traveled through many departments along my way including blood lab, x-ray, and pre-op, and inpatient admission.

During my stay, I noticed all sorts of labeled equipment and supplies in my room, the nurses station, and in testing areas. Not to mention -ME. I had my patient wristband to identify myself to any visiting hospital staff.

My nurse would always scan my wristband before giving medication, shots, or entering information into a lap top that stayed in my room. My wristband had a two-dimensional datamatrix barcode along with human-readable text printed on a durable band with a safety clip. That band did not come off without a scissor.  Although it often took several attempts before the scanner read the code and beeped, I knew at that point, I was identified at the computer and information about the visit was recorded. Of course I also knew I would be asked to say my name and birth date as another check point. Good for them and for me.

Surprisingly, no other department or visitor scanned that wristband for verification (unless it happened while I was sleeping in OR.) As a patient, especially one that knows WHY barcodes are so important for patient ID and safety, it felt good to know the information scanned was put into the computer quickly and accurately using my wristband by nurses. But why not at all areas of care?

So in comparison with our last story about a Patient Wristband Barcodes – Fail, here is a “Pass” for at least one example of successful use of scanning patient wristbands.

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