New Barcode Workflows for Nurses

Guest post by Doug Brown, vertical marketing manager, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility.

Doug Brown
Doug Brown

A creative group of nurses are helping uncover better ways to use barcode printers and scanners at the bedside. In the past, it was common to see barcode scanners mounted on workstation-on-wheel (WoW) carts behind the display and out of the way. It made perfect sense at a time when reading barcodes was a new and relatively uncommon task. Today, the frequency of reading barcodes at the bedside has dramatically increased and as the industry continues to adopt meaningful use Stage 2 this trend will continue.

Nurses using cordless barcode scanners quickly discovered that mounting it in an elevated, forward-facing orientation allowed them to fully benefit from the scanner’s “presentation mode” feature. Just like built-in scanners found at the grocery store, presentation mode scanning is faster because it eliminates the need to squeeze the trigger, and frees up the second hand for quickly handling items.

Thanks to high performance imaging technology, nurses can now use scanners that are suited specifically for hospital applications and are able to quickly read the toughest barcodes, such as clear IV bags or micro medication barcodes. Gone are the days of aligning that little red line so that it precisely dissects the barcode; today’s latest scanning technology brings a “squeeze-and-beep” solution to nurses fingertips.

Hospital workers have learned that selecting a cordless scanner can dramatically improve workflows at the bedside, as evidenced by the fact that more that 70 percent of hospitals purchasing  scanners recently have chosen the cordless options. The most significant advantage is the freedom of movement followed by the elimination of “cord snagging and tangling,” which can be critically important in an environment where you have patient IV lines and other monitoring equipment in the vicinity.

More than just performance, a lot of design work goes into creating a barcode scanner for healthcare environments. By going cordless, the scanner cable that notoriously drags on the floor, is eliminated from the cleaning routine. The time saved in cleaning alone has been justification enough for most hospitals to switch to cordless scanners.

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