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August 4, 2008

NHS banks on LaserBand to avoid errors in patient information

The NHS will provide LaserBand's laser-printed patient wristband products in all its hospitals in England and Wales, for clear printing of patient information and photos as well as barcodes.

By CBR Staff Writer

NHS has signed a multi-year contract with LaserBand for the wristbands, to ensure that errors are not committed in the identification of patients. In a study conducted between February 2006 and January 2007, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) received 24,382 reports of patients being given the wrong care. It is estimated that more than 2,900 of these patient identification incidents related to wristbands and their use.

The NPSA has advised all NHS organisations to standardise patient wristbands. It required the hospitals to implement a patient identification system to generate and print all wristbands from the hospital demographic system, by July 2009.

Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust tested the LaserBand wristbands against other similar products.

Tony Rich, head of information management and technology for the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust, said: “We believe that LaserBand wristbands provide the Trust with a safe solution for identifying patients properly, which will reduce the potential number of medical errors made in our hospitals.”

LaserBand’s products record patient data in handwritten, embossed/imprinted, laser printed or direct thermal printed form.

LaserBand offers an NHS-approved thermal printed wristband option, which uses the same format as the laser-printed option. The company says that its products physically protect patient data and barcode information from washing and from liquids such as rubbing alcohol, saline or IV fluids.

The US General Services Administration’s Federal Supply Schedules, and Premier Inc, a healthcare purchasing alliance in the US, have been using LaserBand’s wristbands for the past few years.

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Brenmoor, Zebra Technologies Europe and Amba Medicals also offer patient wristbands in the UK.

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