Sunnybrook Magazine Sunnybrook Magazine – Fall 2017

First-in-Canada barcoding system helps enhance patient safety

Being admitted to hospital goes hand in hand with a lot of testing, such as blood work. Ten per cent of admitted patients may also receive a blood product.

To make this process as safe as possible for patients, Sunnybrook is expanding its use of innovative technologies to make sure those tests and transfusions are done more accurately than ever before.

A new barcode system is being implemented across the hospital. Where the system has already been introduced, patients are issued a barcoded wristband that, when scanned, provides the patient’s information and a unique patient identifier. This allows staff to confirm the patient’s identity and label at the bedside, track collection in real time and, where applicable, ensure that the correct blood product is transfused.

Two technologies – one for specimen collection and another for blood transfusion – use this barcode system, called electronic Positive Patient Identification (ePPID). The approach makes patient and specimen misidentification almost impossible. To date, over 75,000 samples have already been collected using this new technology, and not a single mislabelled sample has been received in the lab.

Sunnybrook’s operating room is the latest department to use the system. The plan is to roll out this new technology to all other areas of the hospital and expand the scope to other treatments in the future, such as medication administration.

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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