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NHS National Procurement Scotland extends barcoding pilots


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS National Procurement Scotland is extending its pilot projects for the use of barcoding in the health service.

It has launched two pilots in the radiology department of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the orthopaedic theatre suite of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Clydebank.

This follows successful results from a pilot, launched in February 2018, to use barcoding in the stock management of the interventional radiology department of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It involved tracking every single product to a single procedure, performed by a single lead clinician, on a single patient.

Gordon Oates, National Procurement Scotland’s technology enhancement programme manager, said the pilot had produced a number of clear benefits. These included: assurance in the safety and security of the administered product; the ability to check that products are in stock, in date and have no pre-recorded issues; and the ability to track past usage and activity so clinicians can reorder a realistic level of stock and reduce wastage.

In addition, in the event of future product recalls the system can trace back instantly with 100% accuracy to a specific procedure and patient.

Supporting planning

“These benefits support good risk scenario planning, but also positively impact on front line health care,” Oates said.

“During the pilot, efficiencies of the scanning process released significant clinical time back to patient care. Healthcare support workers at Queen Elizabeth reported saving up to 13 hours per week on administration, and the site superintendent radiographer estimated that over the course of a month, around two days of their time was released.”

He added that discussions are now taking place on how the project can be extended further in NHS Scotland.

Image by No Pablum, own work, CC0

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