Current and ongoing government and industry regulatory initiatives are prompting increased migration to electronic health records (EHR) that enable professional care providers to achieve interoperability, service optimization and enhanced security. Investments in AutoID solutions, particularly barcode label printers and handheld scanners, are increasing within the healthcare services vertical driven by the need to maintain compliance with evolving, stringent regulations and mandates to protect patient health information, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) in the United States.
There is tremendous interest among the vendor community to penetrate this space and capitalize on existing market opportunities. Some of the most pertinent applications addressed by barcoding technology installation and integration include:
- Positive patient identification
- Admissions management and processing
- Medication administration
- Clinical sample tracking and patient matching
- Medical records management
- Medical supplies, equipment and device tracking
- General asset management
- Workflow automation
Strategic alliances with leading healthcare distributors including McKesson and Cardinal Health are instrumental to achieving success in this highly regulated vertical, particularly given their control over (big budget) healthcare service providers’ decisions around technology investments, and addressing applications listed above. In its role as one of the leading healthcare information technology companies, McKesson recently announced the launch of ScanAbility, a turnkey solution designed to simplify, support and facilitate bedside scanning and medication administration. The analytics tool, leveraging EHR, is intended to empower and equip buyers and pharmacy decision-makers with actionable business intelligence required to make informed decisions. This new product introduction is especially significant because it speaks to the growing deployment and utilization of barcoding in these environments.
Going into 2013, VDC expects challenges driven by the growing need for online access to patient records, transmission of health data to third parties and secure communication to pose a risk to patient safety. Growing convenience, ease of use and availability of mobile devices also bring with them obstacles including integration with existing legacy clinical and financial systems. But the benefits afforded by healthcare IT far outweigh these potential roadblocks and the ongoing evolution of care delivery will lead to improved service quality, reduced costs, error elimination and an enhanced overall experience. Powered by an incredible amount of critical data and information at their fingertips and the right analytics tools, care providers are identifying potential health risks and making better decisions easing the implementation and support of 5 rights of patient safety – right drug to the right patient in the right dose in the right form at the right time.