Hospitals track equipment using barcodes

17th March 2014 - Fine Cut

Illustrating how barcodes can be used for much more than scanning prices, five public hospitals in Hong Kong have demonstrated the role that barcodes could play in keeping tabs on surgical equipment.

The facilities are using the technology to keep track of surgical equipment, eliminating the need for members of staff to go through piles of paperwork in order to ascertain who last used the implement, as was the case before. 

Sterile supply unit ward manager Tong Chin-Ip explained how, before the barcode programme, personnel used to keep track of such information across six different books, according to FutureGov.asia.

In addition to information about who last used the tool and how, the code is able to log information about how it was sterilised after use, whether or not it may have been exposed to certain pathogens, or if there were issues - for example, if it was dropped on the floor or left in a patient's body during surgery.

The Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong is a perfect example of just what a difference revolutionising patient data systems in this way could make. With over 1,350 beds and over 3,000 sets of surgical equipment, the hospital boasts more than 30,000 individual surgical tools, which gives an idea of the scale of the amount of information there is to keep track of. 

Not only can barcoding in this way make the task less cumbersome, but it can also help to keep data more secure, encrypting information into a series of lines that cannot be understood without a specialised scanner.

As a result of the scheme's success, it is hoped it will be rolled out to all 23 of the region's public hospitals in just the next couple of years.

To find out if barcodes could help you to log and monitor information within your business, give us a call today and one of our expert team members will be able to talk you through the possibilities.

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