Healthcare professionals are constantly searching for ways to incorporate new technologies and protocols that help improve patient safety. When a patient is admitted into a hospital or checks-in at a non-acute care facility, a plethora of personal and medical data starts to be recorded. This data pool continues to grow throughout the patient’s visit, and must be documented accurately to ensure patients and their information are protected. Implementing a bar code wristband system allows caregivers to scan a patient’s identification wristband prior to every procedure or test and link to his or her EHR (Electronic Health Record) for positive patient identification.


A major patient safety requirement for healthcare professionals is ensuring the “Five Rights” of medication administration:

  1. Right Patient –Is the medication for this patient or for someone else?
  2. Right Drug Is this the medication the provider ordered?
  3. Right Dose How much medication should the patient be given?
  4. Right Route Should the medication be given orally, intravenously, or by another method?
  5. Right Time – What time of day should the medication be taken?

When an automated data collection system like bar coding is in place, nurses are able to scan the bar code on the drug container, followed by the bar code on the patient’s ID wristband. Following this protocol allows nurses to gain access to a patient’s EHR and ensure the “five rights” are executed to deliver safe and efficient care.

Meeting “Stage 2 Meaningful Use”

Another regulatory requirement in place for hospitals is Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which is the second phase of the meaningful use incentive program that details the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems by hospitals and eligible health care providers.  A bar coding system can help healthcare facilities meet Stage 2, established by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for Electronic Tracking of Medications, which emphasizes care coordination and exchange of patient information.

Bar Codes That Stand the Test of Time

2D bar codes are generated in a square design to fit better than linear bar codes on curved surfaces, such as patient ID wristbands and prescription bottles. For a 2D bar coding system to be most effective, the media on which the bar codes are printed must resist fading and smudging and be able to withstand moisture, alcohol, and solvents. Laminate overlays that could trap water or chemicals beneath the wristband’s surface may also compromise the bar code and accompanying patient data.

The PDC DuraSoft® Laser Patient ID System features an antimicrobial wristband surface that does not require a cumbersome overlay and guarantees bar codes scan the first time, every time, for the entire duration of a patient’s stay. For thermal printers, the Scanband DR thermal wristband is specially designed to deliver optimal print performance and consistent durability, producing crisp and clear barcodes and text.

Matching Barcode Wristbands and Labels

Printing bar code patient ID wristbands with matching bar code labels on a single laser sheet can further improve patient safety initiatives. Caregivers are able to apply bar code labels that match the bar code on a patient’s ID wristband to medical charts, specimen samples, medication containers and lab results, helping to reduce errors.

The DuraSoft® Laser Patient ID System features a patient ID wristband plus labels all on one convenient sheet.  DuraSoft® is available in multiple formats, serving as an easy drop-in replacement to work with existing laser printer systems in place. The laser sheets feature a varying amount of labels, depending on your facility’s needs. DuraSoft® allows caregivers to safely and effectively identify patients of all demographics including adults, pediatrics and infants.

If you’re looking for a thermal printing solution, the PDC line of direct thermal printers are designed to print both labels and wristbands. Choose from compact desktop thermal printers and mobile printers for point-of-care labeling and identification. And, the printers seamlessly integrate with Epic, Cerner, MediTech and other EMR systems.

Have questions? Contact us here to have a PDC expert reach out to you, or give us a call at 800.435.4242.

Bar Coding: It's as Easy as 1-2-3
Article Name
Bar Coding: It's as Easy as 1-2-3
Implementing a bar code wristband system allows caregivers to scan a patient’s identification wristband prior to every procedure.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here