Industrial labels need to be sturdy and have the capacity to resist harsh chemicals. As for medical labels, they need to have these characteristics and more. Tags used in medical labs are a communication tool that is a critical part of the healthcare system. Mistakes can cause serious health complications for your practice. Here are some principles on the effective use of labels in healthcare.
Drug Class Color Coding
Medical labels and anesthesia tapes are color-coded per the ASTM Standards. Standards and regulations place restrictions on dispensing drugs based on these color-codes. The system of classification is meant to ensure that practitioners can get enough information from a glance.
The National Drug Code is an 11 digit identification number that gives information about the medication name, company that produces the drug, and the dosage. It has been established that identification errors are common in laboratory medicine. Therefore, medical labs should ensure the tags are durable and easy to read to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Ease of Printing and Dispensing a Label
When in the lab, health practitioners often need to record information. Nothing can be as stressful as trying to use a sharpie on a surface that keeps smudging the ink or doesn’t label properly. Health practices should make dispensing information tags easier.
Industrial labels are made to be chemical resistant so that they can maintain their readability. While making labels durable is critical industries, it is a matter of life and death in medicine. A lot of health complications can result from mundane mistakes in reading and labeling items.
Medical practices can apply some techniques to make it easy to print and dispense the label. People working in clinics and laboratories can have their hands full as they try to juggle printing and accomplishing their day-to-day tasks.
One way to make dispensing easier for technicians is to use pull-tab tags. Pull tabs make medical and industrial labels reusable and easy to work with one hand.
Consecutive Bar Coding
A good tagging system should effectively track medication and uphold patient privacy and safety. Barcode Medical Administration (BCMA) is a standard that is applied to verify the five rights. These are; the right dose, time, route, drug, and patient. It is designed to keep track of the medicine from the point it is ordered to the point of administration.
Barcode scanners and labels should be integrated with all aspects of the patient’s interactions within the healthcare system. Errors can result in a misdiagnosis, which can be costly for the practice. For example, mixing up stem cells, bone marrow, or blood samples, can cause serious errors and health complications.
Barcode administration of drugs can reduce these errors by more than 80%. By adopting the system to work with the healthcare service platform and mistakes can be minimized. Experts in the field of medicine also encourage practices to consider changing their workflow for better integration of the barcode. Here are some principles and best practices:
- On-Demand Printing: Making printing on demand prevents losing items such as aesthetic tapes, in the exam room or clinic. There is a lower risk of errors caused by distractions when lab technicians develop specialty labels away from the point of dispensation.
- Durability: Industrial and medical labels need to retain their readability while exposed to lab chemicals. Not only should these tags be chemical resistant, but you may need specialty labels, antimicrobial bands that can resist soap and detergents.
- Readability: The tag should be readable for as long as the patient is using it. For this reason, anesthesia, custom caution tapes, and other tags in the practice should be resistant to moisture, refrigeration, and exposure to the elements.
In the field of medicine, caution is required when tagging items to prevent errors that could compromise the patient’s safety. Medical tags need to be as durable as industrial labels. In addition, the tagging should be integrated with the healthcare service system to make it more effective.