Barcode duplicator improves patient safety for blood banks

Patient safety is at the forefront of the healthcare community, which includes blood banks. Barcoding has proven to be a reliable and efficient method for preventing medical errors. Using point-of-care barcode labeling instead of a manual system for any type of specimen collection represents a major step toward protecting patients.

The FDA’s Blood Labeling Industry Guidance Standard has already required all blood and blood component containers to be labeled with a barcode, but just mandating the barcode doesn’t provide enough protection.

Mobile blood collection units, for example, have the barcodes already on the blood bags, following the FDA blood labeling guidelines. However, when the collections are taken, the technicians handwrite the code number on the donor form. Between illegible (from handwriting or smudging) and transposed numbers, blood collection mistakes happen. And they occur too frequently.

Then what happens? The blood is either disposed of—a total waste of a valuable asset—or it has to be tested in the lab and marked there. That’s a different kind of avoidable waste: valuable time that could be better spent on other critical tasks.

It’s just not enough to use labeled blood bags and containers. While you may be complying with the federal standard, you’re not going far enough to protect patients and preserve your operational efficiency.

Symbology worked with Zebra to combine their technology acumen and deliver a solution. The barcode duplicator system enables mobile blood collection units to scan the barcode on a blood container when the blood is drawn. Then, they print out a duplicate barcode label for the donor form. No handwriting is involved, increasing the accuracy. The barcode duplicator also removes data entry on the backend, where the barcode can be scanned again and automatically transmitted into the system.

Symbology’s barcode duplicator solution features the Zebra LS2208 handheld barcode scanner and the Zebra LP2824 Plus, barcode printer. The printer is compact and lightweight, fitting easily into the limited space of a van or mobile unit. The LP2824 Plus stores the label formats, so there’s no programming require. The technician simply calls up the form and processes it in a few clicks. The scanner connects directly to the printer, so no computer is needed. A network connection isn’t required either, a key feature for mobile units.

There’s always a dire need for blood donations. For patient safety, we need to provide a reliable, safe, accurate, and efficient way to collect and deliver blood where it’s needed. We think our barcode duplicator system is an essential component in achieving this objective. If you want to learn more, click here to watch a video case study or contact us for information.

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