We’re all used to seeing barcodes when shopping. But we’ve adapted this piece of everyday life to make it a potentially lifesaving technology during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We have developed CareScan+, which is a point of care scanning solution used to enhance patient safety.
CareScan+ uses the information contained within barcodes to identify patients and staff. It is also used to track and monitor the use of medical equipment, surgical implants and other medical supplies.
Ventilator equipment tracking using Carescan+
Tony Naylor: Hello, my name is Tony Naylor and I am the associate director for ICT at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
I’m also the programme lead for CareScan+. We are already used to seeing the established use of barcodes in other sectors such as retail. Here at the Trust we are applying these technologies to wider applications in healthcare setting. We do this using a system called CareScan+
CareScan+ has been developed locally here in the Trust and it’s something we can now use alongside other systems to capture data related to the care of patients. We use unique barcodes to identify people, such as patients and staff. As well as products and locations. We provide our patients with a wristband that includes their own unique barcode.
Anything else that we need to scan will typically have its barcode and then it’s simply a case of using the system to scan and click information.
This is done very quickly, reliably and very easily. The data CareScan+ uses is part of our patient record. It also has value because when we process it, it helps us enable further patient safety improvements and resource efficiencies.
When using CareScan+ for example, we can confirm the products are in date. We can manage supplier recalls and track and trace surgical implants more easily, more quickly.
We can also provide feedback to clinical and non-clinical staff in the form of decision support advice. This advice appears on the screen and is displayed at the precise instant when they scan a barcode. For a particular product or piece of medical equipment. The scanner also shakes when there is an alert and this acts as a further prompt to check and importantly to respond to the warning.
It helps to improve safety. As we also explained, its an excellent tool for tracking and tracing things. Our clinical experts have significantly contributed to the design and testing of Carescan+ and whilst we wholly own the system, we called upon an established software provider from the healthcare sector to assist us in building and supporting it.
Our plan is to roll out CareScan+ throughout the Trust, wherever we see a benefit. We have completed some really promising proof-of-concept work with our wards and theatres. And there is more to follow.
CareScan+ can help support out focus on putting patients first and releasing time to care.
Anthony Kennerly: My name is Anthony Kennerley, I’m the CareScan+ project manager at the Trust.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented the Trust with many challenges. One of which was understanding the capacity, ability and locations of our non-invasive ventilators in our hospital. Out team was approached and asked if we could urgently provide an asset tracking and tracing solution.
Working at speed with our clinicians, we adapted the existing functionality within the CareScan+ software, to meet the requirement. The software is easy to use. Clinicians use a handheld device to scan the barcode on the equipment to select. Then select a checklist and answer two questions.
What is the current status of the equipment? – is it in patient use. Available for use. Out for cleaning. Or out for repair.
And what is the current location?
Once both questions have been answered they simply select the complete button. That’s it. It takes no more than 30 seconds.
As part of the solution, we developed an easy to read dashboard, which is accessed via the Trust’s intranet homepage. The dashboard shows in real-time the status and current location of all the non-invasive ventilator’s throughout the Trust.
Knowing the location and current status of the equipment is vital in supporting our clinicians in the fight against COVID-19.
CareScan+ was trialled in late 2019 and was used by clinical staff to scan items. Such as replacement hip and knee joints prior to being used in the operating theatre. CareScan+ maintains a record of surgical implants used for re-order purposes. In addition the system can also provide decision support by raising warnings to the person scanning the item. For example, the handset will inform the user if the item is out of date or some other aspect of its use needs to be checked.
When using CareScan+ to scan surgical implants, the items can be traced much more quickly than they could in the past. So in the unlikely but possible event of a manufacturer’s recall, every patient who has received the recalled product can be identified within minutes. So that any necessary review and follow-up is arranged much sooner.
How barcodes have helped
After a successful trial, the Project team were tasked with adapting CareScan+ for monitoring the location and usage of non-invasive ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tony Naylor, Associate Director of ICT, explains: “We gave each portable ventilator device a unique barcode. Which is scanned every time it is allocated to a patient, removed for cleaning or maintenance or put back in storage.
“Whenever a colleague requires one of the ventilators, they just check a simple online dashboard we created. It shows the location and current usage of every ventilator in the hospital.”
Working against a tight deadline. The Project team had the CareScan+ ventilator adaptation in place and in use on the wards within a week.
Anthony Kennerley, CareScan+ Project Manager, said: “We were given a week to adapt CareScan+ to get it ready to help our clinical colleagues in their fight against COVID-19.
“Since we developed CareScan+ ourselves, we were confident we could rapidly design and implement the modifications within the required timescale.”
CareScan+ is solely owned by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.