Patient Identification System Reduces Specimen Collection Errors by 99.95 Percent at The Valley Hospital


FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company that is a leader in patient and healthcare worker safety-engineered devices and technologies, announced today that the Patient Identification System has reduced specimen collection errors by nearly 100 percent at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J.

The System is the first to fully integrate bar-coding technology with proven specimen collection process standards. The system enhances patient safety by helping to reduce the potential for errors during the specimen management process. Specifically, the system helps to ensure that blood and other samples are collected from the right patient, are placed in the proper container and are labeled correctly.

Using the System to manage specimen collection over the course of more than four years, The Valley Hospital, a 451-bed acute care community hospital, now cites a reduction of 99.95 percent in errors related to incorrect labels and reductions of 100 percent in errors related to both misidentifying patients and using an incorrect specimen container.

"As a result of implementing the System, unnecessary phlebotomy - drawing a second blood sample because there was an error in collecting the first - was eliminated completely," said Michael Mutter, MS, RPh, director of clinical systems quality improvement at The Valley Hospital. "Treatment can be delayed or the wrong treatment could be given because of specimen collection error. Proper treatment and timely treatment are important to patient safety and patient satisfaction. The System helps avoid these potential mishaps."

The System helps to ensure that specimens are collected from the right patient, at the right time, into the right specimen container and that this information is linked back to the right patient. The system includes a handheld computer that acts as a portable data terminal. The handheld includes a built-in scanner, which is used to identify patients at their bedside. The System captures and stores each specimen collection event and helps to assure that the patient, test order and time of collection are correct. The system includes a bar-code for the patient's wristband that is matched against a printed bar-coded specimen label at the bedside for one additional level of identification and security. When placed in its cradle, the System synchronizes with the laboratory information system through a bidirectional interface.

"The system allows the clinician to use some professional judgment, but it helps to ensure that you follow the process in the A, B, C order in which we need it to be followed," Mutter said. "The System not only cuts down on errors, but it also can reduce staff time per specimen collection and specimen receipt time in the laboratory. This is one project that really is working. The bottom line is, we've almost entirely eliminated errors."

The Valley Hospital is the second hospital system to implement the Patient Identification System.

"This system is arriving at just the right time for hospitals," said William A. Kozy, president of BD Diagnostics. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently posed "Seven Healthcare Safety Challenges" to hospitals, and challenge No. 5 is to `eliminate laboratory errors leading to adverse patient outcomes.' The System was created to help hospitals achieve that very goal."

BD is a medical technology company that serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry and the general public. BD manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2003, BD reported total revenues of $4.528 billion.

The Valley Hospital is a fully accredited, 451-bed acute care, not-for-profit community hospital serving more than 300,000 people in Bergen County and adjoining communities. In 2002, 47,200 individuals were admitted, 54,200 people were treated in the ED, and 3,100 babies were born at Valley. According to the most recent statistics available, Valley is the second busiest hospital for admissions in the state of New Jersey.

Source: BD

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