Soon after moving to bedside medication verification, Clause first heard about the Zebra® HC100™ Patient I.D. Solution at an industry conference. The HC100 combines a direct thermal printer with easy-to-load cartridges containing Zebra's durable Z-Band® wristbands. Hospital staff just pop cartridges into the printer to produce wristbands with barcodes and text that stay readable well after paper would degrade.
To test durability, the medical center first tried the bands on nurses, who wore them for a couple of weeks without noticing any degrading. With that success, the hospital brought printers into admissions and the emergency room.
As part of the decision, Thibodaux compared the costs of printing paper labels and the HC100 printers and found them comparable, especially given the rate at which staff had to reprint their paper labels.
Before moving to Zebra printers, labels included a single 1-D barcode, requiring hospital staff to manipulate patient wrists to scan them. Now, with the ability to easily configure exactly what goes on patient I.D. bands, Thibodaux prints smaller 2-D barcodes around the entire perimeter of each wristband for easier scanning without having to move the patient's wrist. They can also easily increase or decrease font sizes, or adjust printed information, such as the name, account number and date of birth that are used for positive patient identification.
In the nursery, the hospital uses infant Zebra Z-Band QuickClip™ wristbands in a soft nylon material for babies' sensitive skin.
Additionally, the hospital can flexibly add important care information on each band, such as medication allergies. To assist with that, Thibodaux also uses colored clips so caregivers have a visual reminder regarding specific patient care needs like allergies, Fall Risk, and Limb Alerts.
Mindful that nurses—ever efficient—sometimes find workarounds to processes, the medical center put a plan in place to ensure that nurses take all steps required for BMV. In particular, they wanted to prevent nurses from scanning barcodes from patient folders instead of patient wristbands—as is required for BMV.
Well before the hospital implemented BMV, Thibodaux conducted extensive research to understand potential workarounds in the industry. In response, Thibodaux flexibly used the Zebra solution to add a special "check" digit to the 2-D barcodes on patient wristbands. When nurses administer medication, they are only able to scan the wristband for patient identification. barcodes from chart forms will not scan, ensuring they are unable to circumvent the process.
"Before we went live, we knew about potential workarounds and put a plan in place—a checkpoint between the nurse and patient that protects patient safety," said Danna Caillouet, physician analyst, R.N. "That was a huge win for us. We're a step ahead of everyone else at conferences because we did so much homework prior to our implementation."