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How to Reduce Errors and Improve Patient Care

All healthcare facilities try to avoid preventable patient injuries. Yet nearly 5 percent of all patients are affected by adverse drug events. Those ADE incidents impact patient lives and cost an estimated $42 billion annually. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the majority of ADEs are preventable.


Nurses and other healthcare practitioners are often blamed for the problems because of their role in administering medicine. However, they are most likely following hospital procedures when errors occur. An error at any point in the process could harm patients. 


The answer to improving care is to improve processes. One way to do that is to embrace the right technology like the Zebra TC52 and other touch computers. These clinical mobile devices help hospital staff in several ways, particularly with powerful scanning capabilities and the ability for the user to pull life-saving data at patients’ bedside. 


Ensuring the Five Patient Rights

Clinical Mobile Devices allow nurses to break free from the constraints of paperwork and other time-consuming processes, empowering them to focus their attention on their patients when administering medicine and other direct patient care tasks.


Most importantly, mobile computers make it easier for nurses to focus on the five patient rights all hospitals follow.


●     Right Patient

●     Right Drug

●     Right Amount 

●     Right Route

●     Right Time


The use of mobile scanning for nurses pays big dividends. For example, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) integrated an internationally acclaimed hospital-wide barcoding system. With 300,000 doses annually, it saw an 80 percent reduction in medication errors with a medication scanning accuracy rate of more than 95 percent. 


Improving Accuracy at the Bedside

ADEs can occur when medicine is ordered, administered, transcribed, or dispensed. More than 30 percent of the errors occur during patient medication administration.


Clinical Mobile Devices can significantly reduce ADEs caused by medication errors during administration because of the scanning feature. Nurses can scan a patient barcode on a wristband, immediately recognize a photo, and get the orders for administration. Next, they can scan a barcode on a medicine bottle to confirm they are administering the right medicine. Finally, they can scan their ID badge to leave an audit trail. 


It’s important to use devices that can scan 1D and 2D barcodes, like the Zebra TC52-HC. While 2D barcodes are becoming more prevalent for medications and collections, other applications still use 1D barcodes. 


Zebra mobile computers are also equipped with scanning technology that can scan labels that are imperfect, including those that are scratched, smudged, torn, dirty, or damaged, with a high degree of accuracy, protecting both the patient and the caregiver. 


Empowering Personal Attention

Clinical Mobile Devices also allow nurses to spend more time with patients at the bedside, allowing them to become more efficient and effective in their jobs. One main reason is that mobile computers allow nurses to reduce the number of devices they have to carry on a shift. Plus, nurses are no longer wheeling a cart, which allows people to interact in a more comfortable setting. 


Nurses can use features like Push to Talk, which make communicating with other staff easier. The rapport between nurse and patient also improves since nurses can use the clinical mobile devices to take pictures, videos, specimen collections, and other reporting besides medication administration. 


With the mobile computers, nurses no longer have to leave the patient’s side for new orders, pages, or calls. Instead, they can send and receive staff communication while on the go, giving them freedom to provide more personal attention.  


Healthcare mobile computers can make a big difference in your hospital or healthcare facility. From having nurses scan barcodes to ensure proper medicine administration to improving bedside care, ACS’ devices can help you improve patient care.

David Dean