Automation of business processes in hospitals is not new, but increasingly important. Already today there are dozens of medical information systems (MIS), introducing new technologies, updated equipment. The medical records of patients are converted into electronic format, and all the results of examinations and research made to map the medical staff of the clinics. This creates a uniform base of information about each patient. Effective use of these data helps marking paper (maps, directions, bracelets), containers for biomaterials and other medical products using paper or laminated labels. Stickers are printed on a special printer and contain code that can be read using a scanner quickly obtain important information about the marked object.
Current situation and trends
In a modern medical facility marking is an integral part of most business processes and is used in almost every Department for a wide range of tasks – from patient registration to the registration of medical equipment. Unfortunately, not all clinics can be attributed to “modern”, so often instead of printing code that contains all the necessary information, maps, laboratory samples or equipment just subscribe manually.
This leads to a serious problem – a lack of a common standard of marking (or e-marking as such) and the universal code that contains all the necessary information about the object marking. And this, in turn, significantly delay and complicate the exchange of patient information between offices, clinics or hospitals. This problem is now actively trying to resolve at the state level.
Landmark projects that illustrate the trend of the introduction of new technologies by government agencies in medicine, it is a “Single state information system in the field of health (EHESS)” and “Federal state information system for monitoring medicinal products for medical use from the producer to the final consumer”. Marking in these systems is an important element of information transfer about the patient, the circulation of medicines, staff, equipment, etc.
Actively used marking private medical institutions that are set up to increase the speed of information processing, workflow automation and, consequently, improved utilization of staff time and quality of work with patients. Everything is possible, including, thanks to generate versatile barcodes or QR codes and then use them for marking of documents, samples or tools.
What’s the universal code?
During the labeling system generates a special bar code or QR code. Depending on the type, it can serve for basic object identification, and may contain additional information about it. In medicine, a commonly used linear barcode types: Code 128, Code 39, Codabar. They convey little information and are mainly used for identification. But the two-dimensional codes such as QR and PDF417, can hold more data and are full-fledged media.
Depending on the location of the barcode may contain:
1. Personal data of the patient, such as name and surname, age and blood group. Identifiers of patients are on the title pages of medical records, assignment sheets, statistical record cards, the bracelets of patients, duplicating text information.
2. Service code – for example, appointments or billing documents.
3. Information on medicines. Use the barcode on the cartons and packages helps to monitor the movement of drugs within the same organization, and in their transfer to other institutions. At the code can determine from which party the box when it was received and to obtain other important information.
4. Information about the container with the biomaterial, for example, about a particular package with blood: patient data, characteristics of the material itself, all of which can be important during its transportation, moving between offices or laboratories and subsequent use.
5. Data for identification of consumables and reagents.
6. The history of the use of tools. Labeling will talk about when the tool was sterilized, where it was used and when it should be changed.
7. Inventory for fixed assets, equipment and tools.
8. The information necessary for archival purposes.
How to use the marking in hospitals?
Treatment of the patient in the hospital
In hospitals the way the bar code according to the divisions starts from the moment of patient admission to the emergency room. The first barcode is used in the preparation of the title sheet of history – it will allow you to quickly identify the patient in the system and speed up the search for his card in the database of the medical institution. Then any manipulation will be recorded in the electronic medical history.
After getting sick of appointments there is an additional need for identification and entering information into the database. Instead of searching for the patient manually in the system, the nurse just reads the code on the map or placed above his bed. The code is on a special bracelet on the hand of the patient. End-to-end-labeled using the names and personal code will simplify the collection of tests, the purpose of the treatment, issue of medicines, preparation and sorting of infusions or solutions for injection, as well as many other similar operations that are performed alternately on a group of patients.
As with electronic medical history formed its printed version, there is not only electronic, but also paper files of case histories. Sometimes it is necessary to find the right story to extract it from the archive and find the respective patient in the electronic database. If you mark the history of universal identifiers, it is possible to significantly speed up the search process records in the MIS.
Marking in the clinic
The reception in the hospital – a place where is very important fast and accurate identification of the visitor. Creating an account for a patient, the receptionist gets the ability to generate a unique barcode, put it on a plastic card or patient card, and then marking them purpose and direction survey results, a list of services rendered to the client services and so on. A single code is able to identify the patient and immediately find all the information related to them, regardless of which experts he was before and how long ago it was.
Biomaterials and documents in laboratories
In laboratories, the question of patient identification is of particular importance, since the transmission of samples for study happens without his participation. In manual processing, there is a probability of error or incorrect interpretation of the marking – for example, when the patients have the same last name. If you use the bar code, and the vial marked in the presence of the patient, such errors are easier to avoid.
Another problem is the potential leak of personal data for some types of analyses (venereology, gynaecology, Oncology, etc.). In the case of tube marking “Unallocated” bar code, it’s solved.
Thus, eliminating manual processing and providing a custom label, we are, on the one hand, clearly tie to data analysis to the identity of the patient and exclusion errors, on the other – avoiding the need to disclose personal data. The result of the study is transferred to the IIA with reference to the passed order ID.
You can build the process is as follows: the doctor introduces in the system all the necessary appointments with reference to the identifier of the patient and, if necessary, prints out the forms, marked with the barcode. Orders are sent to the laboratory, and during the delivery of patient analyses are printed bar-code identifiers for containers with biological material.
The use of codes simplifies the sorting of tubes for verification of orders and rejection of incorrect samples, creating secondary tubes, which spreads the treated serum, and sorting by special tripods (biochemical, serological, immunological and so on).
External supporting documentation
When sending patients from one hospital to another, you typically create a package of accompanying documents with medical history and personal information about patients, appointments, results of tests and examinations and so on. They should all be recorded in the database of the host organization. In these cases, the use of special codes on paper, significantly speeds up the process of identification of the patient and his medical history.
How to print code for marking?
For printing bar codes are used as “traditional” printers and multifunction devices, and special devices for marking – they are referred to as label printers and allow you to print not only barcodes, but also the text. Model number of printers is wide enough– from household devices to the office, with the ability to print via Wi-Fi or via an interface with computer.
The experience of our European colleagues, label printers (e.g., Brother P-Touch) has long been successfully used in medical institutions to create and print easily readable labels for drugs, labeling, medical cards, identification bracelets for patients, warning signs with information about the procedures and contraindications. They simplify the tracking lab, as well as compliance with the maintenance schedule and repair equipment.
The range of label printers are quite wide, their possible applications depend on the functionality and technical characteristics. We will tell them the example devices Brother P-Touch and Brother QL.
Let’s start with the simple models without connecting to the computer. In medical facilities they can perform a limited set of functions. For example, PT-H110R – hand-printer, prints the text and symbol information. It has a display where you can view the label before printing, and keyboard. Text (Cyrillic or Latin), you can print in two lines on the labels up to a width of 12 mm and a length of 300 mm. In some cases, a device? For text and symbols folders, paper trays, equipment, cables, electrical switches, etc.
To work in conjunction with the MIS use of older models. This “advanced” device, which by wire or Wi-Fi to connect to the computer, smartphone or tablet and have included special software to create labels on the computer, in our case Brother P-Touch Editor or the Brother iPrint&Label for mobile devices. Among recommended models, the QL-810W. This printer can print not only letters, numbers and symbols, and bar codes, both linear and two-dimensional. The width of the labels is increased to 62 mm, and length up to 1 m. Another example is the model PT-D600VP with a large color display high resolution. The printer prints resistant to fading and the stickers up to a width of 24 mm, including barcodes. Model QL-810W and PT-D600VP support all popular in medicine types of two-dimensional barcode and is ready to work with the existing MIS.
Tape TZe, which print printers P-Touch, have a number of outstanding features. Thanks to lamination, the labels are resistant to abrasion and fading in the light, and the sticker is resistant to chemical attack. Adhesive the adhesive provides strong adhesion and fixing of the labels on the surface.
Tape DK use printers QL. Brother offers a wide selection of cut labels standard size for any purpose for use in areas such as: address labels, for labeling of goods, for folders-registrars, universal, CD-ROM drive (film), round, of different diameters, square. Tape DK is not laminated and are used for temporary marking.
Experience in the use of printers for marking during a pandemic COVID-19
Today there is enough evidence that usage of label printers enables medical institutions to speed up data processing with large flow of patients. This time saving is especially important for hospitals receiving patients with COVID-19 – when the ambulance brought one patient after another, every minute counts.
Realizing this, our company decided to donate the sets of label printers in clinics of Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Crimea. In their structure – model PT-D600VP, QL-810w and sets PTH110R1BUND with additional tapes. The results of this action suggests that the device will quickly find the application in our medical institutions and really simplify and speed up some routine operations. In this assessment, we rely on feedback received directly from those who started to use the marker in the work.
According to the staff of DGKB them. Z. A. Vashlaevoj, printer to print the labels helps professionals clinical lab faster to process data and maintain accurate records. If we had to sign manually, and it was long enough, the automatic printing allows you to save time. The result is optimization of work processes and greater patient safety. In City clinical hospital № 31, the PT-H110R also used successfully in the laboratory. Similarly, Infectious clinical hospital No. 1 mark containers with materials for analysis.
An example of another use of label printers, including the most simple manual PT-H110R, – in the City clinical hospital № 15 named after O. M. Filatov. Here at QL-810W print badges MOPP suits, and manual printer P-Touch is used for easy marking of everything you need – quickly and conveniently. National medical research center of obstetrics, gynecology and Perinatology named after academician V. I. Kulakov also actively use the P-Touch. With its help mark the equipment and tools.
Technology is advancing, and there are always new devices. For example, to project sales of steel available models TD2000 series. They connect to mobile devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and is able to print not only labels but also bracelets for patients. And it also has a feedback – model TD-2120N is already used in the Regional clinical hospital # 2 in Vladivostok, where with its help, printed bracelets for patients.
The experience of the use of label printers in real medical institutions suggests that simple models and “advanced” in demand, but for different purposes. Manual printers are used for marking inventory, office equipment is the so — called “ordinary” markings. More complex devices allow using specialized software to produce, in addition to conventional text and digital stickers, name tags and stickers with bar codes. These devices are easy to integrate with MIS and become their effective component.
The reliability and durability of the tapes TZe inspire confidence that the information contained on the labels, will be promptly transferred to the Department corresponding to the treatment profile of the patient.
In medical institutions label printers effectively combined with “traditional” printing devices. And those and others are supplied to clinics under government programs and commercial projects to upgrade material and technical base and information system and integrate with the existing or implement MIS. For example, in the framework of the Federal project “creation of a single digital circuit in health care on the basis of the unified state information system in the field of health (EHESS)” more than 10,000 different printing devices Brother placed in medical institutions of the fifteen subjects of the Russian Federation.
The European experience of the use of label printers in medicine richer and more diverse, however, our country is gradually marking “taking root”. We see that the geography of application of the label printers of Brother in Russia is expanding every day and get all the new confirmation of the effectiveness of these devices. Faster, more accurate, more transparent, safer – that describe the results of the introduction of labelling employees of medical institutions and laboratories. Productive, practical and, ultimately, profitable – an assessment of the management team.
We are happy to share their advice on the use of labels in medicine with all who are interested. Email us at [email protected] and learn how to optimally organize the marking in your organization.