Guest Column | September 30, 2013

Four AIDC Opportunities In The Healthcare Industry

By Doug Niemeyer, Director of Sales, TEKLYNX

In the world of healthcare, patient safety is the top priority. There are many risks in healthcare environments resulting from human error — whether it be in the process of manufacturing drugs or devices, shipping supplies, identifying the correct drug and/or the correct patient, or distributing medications and conducting procedures. By automating aspects of these processes, the risk of human error decreases while patient safety increases.

Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) refers to automatically identifying objects, collecting data about those objects and entering the data into a computer system — which ultimately minimizes human interaction. AIDC involves the use of barcodes, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other innovative technologies.

According to VDC Research’s 2012 barcode vendor analysis, revenue in healthcare services is expected to grow 15.4 percent from 2011 to 2016, increasing the available budget to implement AIDC solutions — and your opportunity to sell them. Here are four current opportunities to sell AIDC solutions in the healthcare market.

  1. Increase In Governmental Regulations And Mandates
    There is a growing need to maintain compliance with developing regulations and mandates for pharmaceutical labeling (21 CFR Part 11), hazardous chemical labeling (Globally Harmonized System of Classification (GHS)) and medical device identification (Unique Device Identification (UDI)). Protecting patient confidentiality and safety, increased accuracy, and enhanced reliability of healthcare providers are motivating adoption of secure AIDC solutions. VDC Research 2012 end user analysis states this could drive increased implementation and usage of barcode solutions both in healthcare organizations and the enterprises that sell their devices or supplies to healthcare providers.
  2. Patient Care Management And Tracking
    Tracking patients during their visits to healthcare facilities ensures that the right patients are receiving the correct course of medication and/or proper procedures. Secure solutions are required to avoid data breaches and possible lawsuits for HIPAA Privacy Rule violations. This rule sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information. Proper identification and secure data capture helps link patients to their patient files, lab samples, procedures and medications — which leads into the next opportunity.
  3. Labeling Specimens, Medicine, And Supplies
    In a healthcare facility, inaccurate labeling puts both the facility and the patient in jeopardy. The label and barcode on specimens and medications must match the information listed on the patient wristband and in the patient file. This creates a sense of security, linking specimens and medications to that specific patient through auto-ID. This reduces the risk of giving patients the wrong type of medication or procedure. In a lab setting, printing labels directly from a laboratory information management system (LIMS) improves the accuracy of specimen labeling by removing human interaction from the labeling process. For device manufacturers, USFDA legislation mandates will eventually require all medical devices to be labeled with a unique marking. UDI will drive increased adoption of AIDC solutions in both medical device manufactures and healthcare vendors to streamline this process.
  4. Internal Compliance And Process Changes
    Healthcare organizations face many internal challenges, including counterfeiting, medication errors, and supply chain inefficiency. Organizations are gradually turning to barcode labeling solutions in response to their growing need to minimize medical errors. This, in turn, improves safety while eliminating costs (by both saving money and reducing risk to the facility and its patients). Security and automation are strong motivators to implement AIDC solutions.

All four of these opportunities are rooted in the goal to protect patients. As healthcare facilities attempt to eliminate medical errors and medical device manufacturers await pending USFDA mandates, solutions that automate these processes become vital. And with growing budgets, organizations either will be or are currently able to purchase solutions that assist with external and internal compliance initiatives — which means now is the perfect time to sell AIDC solutions in the healthcare space.