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Phlebotomy: There Is Magic In Embracing Barcode Technology

Proper labeling of blood samples is a must when it comes to the clinic environment. Be it for research purposes, donations, transfusions or medical testing, getting the name of a patient wrong practically guarantees wrong results. In fact, in some cases, it may mean putting the life of a patient at risk.

To help minimize the risks of misidentification and other labeling errors, some hospitals have decided to embrace barcode technology. In order to ensure the safety of their patients, and the accuracy of any research work, they essentially choose to rely on a barcode scanner and a portable printer. Here are some of the benefits that these clinics usually enjoy.

Instantly updated data

Most phlebotomy-related barcode readers are usually connected to the clinic's information management system. What this means is that when tests are ordered, it is easy for the information to be relayed to a phlebotomist. And when he or she takes the samples, it is easy for the medical practitioner who ordered the tests to track the progress of the ordered tests.

These instant updates usually eliminate the need to have after-task compilation of data. It also reduces the need for paperwork and, by improving the flow of information, generally helps to streamline a clinic's operations.

Increased patient identification accuracy

Rather than rely on handwritten paper notes, and maybe oral directions, to identify patients, a barcode-reader-armed phlebotomist is usually able to identify a patient by simply scanning his or her wristband. This eliminates any errors that may arise due to miscommunication. It reduces the need to retake samples, due to the errors, and thus usually goes a long way when it comes to increasing efficiency. This is important, especially on a busy day when the phlebotomist has to deal with a number of patients.

Increased labeling accuracy

The barcode technology also comes in handy after the tests have been carried. This is the case, especially when it comes to labeling.

Most of these devices come with a portable printer attached. This makes them capable of not only identifying a patient, but also of printing labels that are to be attached on the samples collected. It eliminates the error-prone method of manually writing the labels while also guaranteeing consistency in the labeling process. All this usually goes a long way in ensuring that the clinic's operations are efficient.


Barcode readers help to streamline phlebotomy processes in a clinic. And while carrying a barcode reader and a printer might prove to be challenging for some, the availability of a phlebotomy cart – some even have enough storage space to make room for pullout drawers and utility baskets – makes this a challenge that is easy to overcome.