Devices & Technology

The New Face of Hospital ID Bracelets

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By Christina Orlovsky, senior staff writer

As hospitals look for improved methods of patient identification, age-old plastic identification bracelets are taking on a whole new look—the look of the patient. Today’s wristbands now come complete with a patient’s photograph.

In response to the increasing need for bar coding technology in hospital patient identification, General Data, a Cincinatti, Ohio, provider of labeling and identification products, has created the PersonalID Patient Identification Wristband. Made of a durable, latex-free material, the PersonalID integrates bar coding with a high-resolution digital photo of the patient “to provide multiple identifiers and ensure positive patient identification.”

According to Ralph Moher, director of corporate marketing and communications for General Data, the PersonalID is unique in both its design and function.

“It is designed so that the printing will not fade or rub off when exposed to alcohol, water or any other fluids or chemicals in the hospital environment,” Moher said. “It’s very easy to print and integrate into information systems and it’s comfortable for patients.”

Its function, Moher added, is to help hospitals adhere to stricter standards from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which calls for hospitals to use at least two patient identifiers as a method of reducing hospital error—most often with regard to medication.

“With JCAHO’s new patient safety goals, hospitals are looking at a photo in addition to two patient identifiers for reasons similar to those for having a photo on your driver’s license: It provides a very secure, true identification of a person that goes beyond just matching a name or number,” he said.

Moher added that the photo reduces the risks that may occur when patients have the same or similar name, when wristbands fall off or fade, or when patients switch wristbands. Plus, matching the photo and the bar code to bar coded medication not only allows nurses to provide the correct dosage to the correct patient at the correct time, it also reduces the time they have to spend doing paperwork.

“Nurses love the photo feature because of the fact that it, in addition to the bar code, allows them to spend less time verifying patient identification and more time focusing on what they like to do most: provide quality patient care,” he said.

© 2005. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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