The hospital engaged Zebra and one of its barcode labeling solutions providers. With the BCMA go-live date soon approaching, new printers had to be selected and implemented quickly. Considering the hospital's two-dimensional requirements, Zebra Technologies was recommended.
The Nebraska Medical Center trialed the Zebra® HC100™ direct thermal printer, designed specifically for the unique needs of healthcare providers. The compatible Z-Band® Direct wristbands are the only antimicrobial-coated wristbands currently on the market.
The solution with the GE Centricity Enterprise health information system using Zebra's ZBI™ interface, and performing data capture and formatting of the wristbands. The HC100 printers were loaded with ZBI-based MiSim® software to use the same data currently being printed to the laser printers, which allowed The Nebraska Medical Center to use the same printer application to print wristbands.
With successful testing, the hospital rolled out the HC100 printers with ZBI-based MiSim applications throughout its inpatient operations at all nurse stations and in admissions. Additionally, it brought in the TLP 3844-Z™ desktop printers with a similar ZBI/MiSim application for clear printing of smaller labels for their infant/mother security band system.
"We were able to plug and play the HC100 with minimal changes to the IT software," said Brian Fox, lead IT project manager for The Nebraska Medical Center. "We have one consistent banding process across all inpatient care areas in the hospital, so if a patient transfers from one place to another, all departments are using the same printers and scanners."
The Nebraska Medical Center now prints two barcodes on a single wristband—one two-dimensional and one linear—because the glucometer only reads linear barcodes. The two–dimensional code facilitates BCMA and the linear barcode supports positive patient ID and glucose readings. In labor and delivery and the neonatal intensive care units, nurses use a separate banding process to link mothers and babies.
Previously, nurses printed out sheets of labels and hand-created each wristband. Laser printing required them to load forms, print, apply labels to the bands and then fold laminate over the bands. Now, a single button generates the completed wristband, ready for each patient. Nurses also find the wristbands simple and reliable to scan—anywhere within six inches of the band. "We're seeing little to no problems with barcodes that won't scan," Fox said. "This is a common industry-wide problem that we're not encountering."
Moreover, as nurses scan bands and administer medication, that information updates the electronic medical record in real time, thus eliminating the need to chart medications administered at a later time. The primary benefit of real-time charting is that physicians can make clinical decisions with the most up-to-date information.