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Nell Alverson

How Mobility is Radically Changing Healthcare

Healthcare risks are frightening. A baby is misidentified at birth, or when being discharged from the hospital to go home. A patient is given the wrong medication, and has an allergic reaction. A message doesn’t get from the medical staff to a doctor in sufficient time to deal with an emergency. These are only three of the risks that can be reduced in—or even eliminated from— today’s healthcare settings, simply by using the right barcode scanner. But how do you choose the right scanner for your customer? Looking at how they’ll be employed is a good place to start.

Hospital wristbands bearing unique barcodes carry specific information about patients, including newborns, and are easily scanned by the medical workers who have contact with those patients. Patient ID systems also can be used for unique product identification, inventory control, centralized purchasing, asset tracking, and staff location*. But the right scanners still are needed to read the barcodes on those wristbands.

In healthcare communication, pagers once were heavily relied upon. However, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), they soon will be obsolete—maybe even within the next two years in the UK—as they’re replaced by handheld scanners. Why? It may be that pagers only provide inconvenient, one-way communication, so the messaging isn’t as direct since it’s relayed through a third party. A medical worker, for example, sometimes goes through a dispatcher to get critical information to a doctor or nurse, who then have to call back the medical worker to confirm they received the information. That process causes a delay, which can be extremely costly—especially when the health of a patient rests in the balance. Scanners eliminate, or greatly reduce, that delay in communication.

Scanners also can simplify the jobs of nurses and doctors, so they have more time to focus on patient care. They can reduce or eliminate the chance that sensitive information is compromised or lost. They can help monitor how medication and/or medical supplies are distributed, thereby keeping inventory current. And they can make collecting and managing blood samples and other specimens much easier and safer. The modernization of healthcare often is accomplished by applying the latest, and best-available, technologies to patient care. But, again, how do you know what’s right for your customers’ specific needs? Start by knowing the right questions to ask. According to Wayne Miller, Director, EMEA Healthcare Practice at Zebra Technologies, the following items should be considered when creating healthcare mobility solutions: practical features, durability features, performance features, and user experience.

When your end customers are medical providers who need to upgrade the mobility of their existing solutions, Zebra’s new, DS4600 Series of barcode scanners is an excellent place to start. These versatile scanners can be used in an entire hospital or other medical facility. They’re rugged and easily sanitized, simple to deploy and manage, scan virtually anything, capture multiple barcodes at once, allow simple switching between handheld and hands-free scanning, and select only one barcode among many—in addition to other features. And your customers’ scanning is simplified even further through DataCapture DNA—which turns Zebra DS4600 Series scanners into tools that help lower cost of ownership and improve worker productivity.

When you want to learn more about the latest advances in healthcare mobility—and how to use them to create best-of-breed solutions for your end customers in this market—contact your ScanSource sales rep today!

*As was demonstrated by The Hexagone Neuilly Group