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The Evolution of Patient Identification: Part II

Key Considerations for Your Hospital Patient ID System


As hospital patient ID systems continue to evolve, certain factors can help influence the decision making for your organization. While cost is often a factor, cost savings shouldn’t be at the expense of other considerations such as safety, efficiency, performance, and patient experience. In this blog post we consider the following aspects to patient ID systems that also help your bottom line.


Manual versus automated process

Handwritten, non-barcode patient identification wristbands require a manual process of recording patient identifiers which can lead to human errors that in turn can potentially become medical errors. A manual process is also far less efficient and effective than an automated process. Any additional administrative burden or workaround by hospital staff is less time spent on patient-centred care.

Focus on central patient registration or main patient admissions

Patient identification and engagement starts at the admitting process. With these high traffic areas, barcode patient identification wristbands should be printed directly from the hospital information system and printers. This automated process with barcode wristbands ensures patient safety by minimizing human error and providing easy patient verification through scanning the patient’s unique barcode.

Printer system set-up and performance

The initial printer set-up and ongoing performance are key factors of barcode patient identification wristbands. Recurring printer jams can disturb patient flow, frustrate hospital staff, become labour-intensive for IT, and add costs to the budget. There are two main printer systems to consider for barcode patient identification wristbands: Direct Thermal and Laser. Under the umbrella of a Direct Thermal system, there are two sub-groups, Direct Thermal Roll and Cartridge. Information on these different printer systems and sub-groups will be shared in Part IV and Part V of our patient ID evolution series.

Durability and scanning barcodes

The patient identification wristband barcode is unique to each patient and is linked to the hospital information system to communicate and track all activities and records associated with the particular patient. Therefore, the barcode needs to be scannable at every point-of-care and should last throughout the patient’s hospital stay. Any smudged, faded, wrinkled or illegible barcode can be time consuming and frustrating for staff as well as put patient safety at risk. To ensure that the barcode is printed clearly, first check the printer as a damaged or worn-out printhead or toner cartridge issues can cause smudges on the barcode. The next step would be to review the durability and prolonged use of the wristband. The patient identification wristband must be readable at every point-of-care from the admitting process to discharge.


About Medirex Systems Inc. Medirex Systems Inc. (Medirex) is a Canadian-owned and operated business connecting patients to health information systems. Being an industry leader for over 50 years, Medirex has evolved to bridge the gap between patient identification and engagement by cultivating patient connections with ease, security, and no errors. Providing a positive patient identification experience for over 10 million Canadians, Medirex adopts technologies ensuring that the patient has a voice in their healthcare journey. Medirex aids in the adoption of digital health resources and data to improve the patient experience for your healthcare organization. Media Contact: Medirex Communications Medirex Systems Inc. +1-416-363-9313

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