Industry Press Releases

The ‘Dream’ of a Paperless Hospital

Friday, Jun 29, 2018

Healthcare as a sector has in many ways embraced technology, particularly with the exchange of information such as referrals, results, appointments, theatre bookings, patient demographics and other data transfers via standards such as HL7. These keep systems synchronised in a way simply not practically possible via paper or even manual data entry. Even with the ever-advancing data exchange evolution continuing to gain momentum, there are some elements of healthcare delivery that are still paper-based and with good reason.

When you are admitted to hospital, one of the first things the Admissions Officer will do is reach for a batch of patient labels – your labels. These will be attached to everything you own, your chart, your medications, specimens – even you (in the form of a wristband). As a patient, you are also asked for your name and date of birth – ad nauseum – and each time, the clinician asking you will likely be looking at the label on your wrist, triple checking. Babies are labelled as “Baby Of...” , often before they are even given their real name. Labels are one area where there is currently no substitute for paper – and there is a good reason for that, safety. No matter the size of the institution, positive patient identification is absolutely critical. The labels need to contain a lot of data but in a readable format, so every character printed counts. The labels must also stay stuck to whatever they are applied to and not fade nor smudge.

Given that clinical decisions are made based on the results of pathology tests or imaging scans, it is important that any paper order/request forms and specimen containers are correctly and clearly labelled. It seems simple and old fashioned, but labelling is a task that is trusted to dedicated devices and stationery designed to be reliable. If labels can’t be printed, the operational impact is devastating to a medical institution. Thermal Printers like the Brother TD-2000 series are used in the pathology departments at the collection point to print up to 80 specimen labels every day. With throughput like that, and in a busy area like a collection point, the TD-2000’s proven reliability over large batches of printing is able to withstand the daily rough and tumble of a busy environment.

The necessity to print doesn’t stop at labels. Healthcare, at its core, involves a large human element - patients - and the ‘care’ part often takes place in areas where screens are either not practical or can be seen as a distraction. There is also the need for physical signatures (yes, even in a digital age) along with paper-based data collection. Information Systems where the data is collected via a screen are on the rise but some facilities need to choose between paper-based or manual processes in order to allocate funds to clinical outcomes.

Let’s look at an example of where paper may be more likely to succeed or may provide better value than an electronic alternative - Aged Care patient interaction forms. These forms are documents such as signed patient consent forms, medication lists, therapy notes and in-home care requirements, to name a few. Some of these forms will be printed blanks to be filled out manually, signed and eventually scanned back into an electronic patient record, whereas others may be system generated and printed for reference by a patient and/or carer. Emailing a medication list is fine, but a printed version that can be kept with the medications is much more practical, portable and available in that it doesn’t need power or an internet connection to be accessed. The Brother PJ-7 series of portable printers are used in aged care facilities to print data capture forms, educational/instructional material and custom in-home care plans when and where they are needed. This cuts down on the waste of unnecessary printing and also reduces the risk of patient information being lost via misplaced forms either in transit or during a home visit. By printing what a clinician or care provider needs at the time they need it and not before, the sensitive information in these patient records is further protected from accidental release/loss thus minimising the risk of data breaches and making the process far more efficient.

In a world where technology is speeding up the information flow and connecting people more than ever before,  healthcare serves as a timely reminder that printed media still serves vital functions that may never be made redundant.

Brother’s solutions consultants have years of expertise and experience in building solutions for the healthcare industry. Visit Brother corporate solutions and ask for a free consultation and demonstration.

Contact the Commercial Division for your corporate labelling requirements: Phone: 1300 885 989

About Brother International (Aust) Pty Ltd:

In operation for more than a century, Brother is a global manufacturer of laser printers, laser and inkjet Multi-Function Centres, label printers, scanners and mobile products and is recognised for its range of technology-driven machinery used within businesses worldwide.

With corporate printing solutions at the forefront of its services, Brother boasts customer satisfaction across small, medium, and large businesses. Its printers have been recognised with 5 consecutive wins for the coveted PCMag Business Choice Award, and 9 consecutive wins of Readers’ Choice Awards. The organisation takes pride in its consistent efforts towards promoting environmental conservation and cost minimisation, particularly through providing solutions that encourage efficiency in the workplace.

Brother International Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brother Industries, which was founded in 1908 in Japan. Brother Australia was established in 1977, with a head office located in Sydney and state offices nationally throughout Australia.

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