Informaticopia

Thursday, December 16, 2004

National Patient Safety Agency - "Right Patient Right Care Final Report"

National Patient Safety Agency - "Right Patient Right Care Final Report"

This report from the National Patient Safety Agency (published 9th Dec) "is about how patients can erroneously receive health care which is not intended for them or be matched with specimens other than their own. It reviews the background to such mismatching and sets out the findings from two pieces of
research commissioned by the NPSA, one on checking using manual methods and the other on technology based systems.

The paper notes the link between this project and the Government’s major investment in healthcare IT through the National IT Programme (NPfIT). This will help ensure that
any technological solutions developed for mismatching are consistent with that programme both at a national and local level. The paper proposes a way forward with the NHS, industry and patients working together to devise and introduce systems
which will help to reduce mismatching significantly and make patient care safer."

It sets out current issues with the use of case studies and examines potential benefits from technology, including;
• barcodes – the most familiar form of ID coding technology, using adjacent bars and spaces to present information.
• radio frequency identification (RFID) – using radio-frequency transfer of data between a reader and a tag.
• card based technologies (magnetic strip, IC chip) – using cards which incorporate a magnetic stripe digitally encoded with information.
• biometrics (for example, finger printing and iris scan) – using automated methods of identifying or authenticating a living person based on physiological or behavioural characteristics.

With some conclusions about the most appropriate technologies and the importance of links with NPfIT the report summarises the current state of play and some plans for the future.

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