Zebra Technologies Survey Reveals 78% of European Hospitals Still Use Handwritten Wristbands Despite Advances in ID Technologies

Research commissioned by Zebra Technologies unveils the enormous opportunity to leverage existing technology investments for better efficiency, greater innovation and patient care

BOURNE END, June 2, 2016 –
Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a global leader in solutions and services that provide real-time visibility into organisations’ assets, people and transactions, has engaged with IDG Connect to explore how hospitals in Europe are managing patient and specimen identification, handling data collection and retrieval to better understand opportunities for future improvement.

The survey suggests that while hospitals are making headway in mobile working for staff, there are areas where efficiency is being hindered by staff underutilizing the technology investments already in place. The technology most favoured – and therefore most utilised - by staff is that which is used in everyday life such as Wi-Fi and mobile devices. For nearly one third of respondents, RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology is simply not well understood and therefore met with opposition. The reality is, however, wider application of both RFID and barcoding would be easily managed and save staff significant time in patient identification, inventory and clinical care.

According to the research, there is a clear need for education and cultural shift if European healthcare is going to progress. Hospitals have the universal goal of becoming more efficient and freeing more time for patient care and the technology they already possess could be the key to achieving this. While technology presents an opportunity to improve efficiency, productivity and patient care, only appropriate deployment will achieve this.


Application of barcodes and RFID

  • Fear of cost tops the list of reasons not to implement effective ID technology, followed by integration challenges (UK and Italy), reception by staff (Germany) and patient relations’ reaction and fear of patients feeling ‘labelled’ (France).
  • 78% of all recipients still use handwritten patient wristbands despite potential illegibility and fading.
  • Around 90% of all hospitals plan to use barcoding for asset management, and four-fifths say the same about RFID.
  • The UK is the biggest advocate of ID technology, and 90% plan to use both technologies for all applications.

Use of Mobile Devices

  • 90% of hospitals use mobile devices to collect clinical patient data.
  • Over half are using mobile devices to access patient data and biology prescriptions, and the same number use them for asset and facilities management.
  • The highest number of users is nursing staff (80%), followed by around half of all doctors and a third of all consultants.
  • 97% of UK hospitals already use mobile devices for collect clinical data.

Wi-Fi Access

  • 90% of medical staff already have good access along with three-quarters of administrative staff compared to 40% of patients.
  • Around 90% believe there is room for improvement to WLAN and Wi-Fi networks.
  • Only 10% of all respondents thought security did not need to be improved, with Germany topping the list of those concerned about privacy and security.
  • Most French hospitals are aiming to give medical staff Wi-Fi access in the future.

STUDY METHODOLOGY                                           

  • The study surveyed 125 IT representatives of hospitals in the UK, France, Germany and Italy.
  • Hospitals surveyed were of different sizes in both public and private healthcare.


Bob Johnson, Principal Analyst, IDG Connect
“According to the research, there is a clear need for both discussion and education to enable a European healthcare cultural shift towards technology-enabled efficiency. Hospitals have a universal goal to become more efficient and free more time for patient care with better leverage of existing technology. Innovative leaders increasingly realise that without effective deployment, no technology investment will substantially improve efficiency, productivity and patient care.”

Franck Riout, solutions marketing Healthcare, EMEA, Zebra Technologies
“Technology represents an opportunity to improve patient care, staff productivity, and operational efficiency but only if it is deployed appropriately. It is heartening to see so many hospitals effectively using mobile devices and Wi-Fi services, but there is so much more they could be doing to increase their visibility and improve patient care. Zebra plans to continue to work closely with hospitals around Europe to help educate IT and medical staff alike how to leverage technology to spend more time with patients.”



With the unparalleled visibility Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information – gleaned from visionary solutions including hardware, software and services – give organisations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers, and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today’s data-centric world. For more information, visit www.zebra.com. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Valerie Berrivin
Zebra Technologies
Phone: +33 607 956 184


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