[QR-Code based patient tracking: a cost-effective option to improve patient safety].

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Publication Date: 
Feb 22, 2013

BACKGROUND: Hospitals are implementing a risk management system to avoid patient or surgery mix-ups. The trend is to use preoperative checklists. This work deals specifically with a type of patient identification, which is realized by storing patient data on a patient-fixed medium.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In 127 ENT surgeries data relevant for patient identification were encrypted in a 2D-QR-Code. The code, as a separate document coming with the patient chart or as a patient wristband, has been decrypted in the OR and the patient data were presented visible for all persons. The decoding time, the compliance of the patient data, as well as the duration of the patient identification was compared with the traditional patient identification by inspection of the patient chart.

RESULTS: A total of 125 QR codes were read. The time for the decrypting of QR-Code was 5.6 s, the time for the screen view for patient identification was 7.9 s, and for a comparison group of 75 operations traditional patient identification was 27.3 s. Overall, there were 6 relevant information errors in the two parts of the experiment. This represents a ratio of 0.6% for 8 relevant classes per each encrypted QR code.

CONCLUSION: This work allows a cost effective way to technically support patient identification based on electronic patient data. It was shown that the use in the clinical routine is possible. The disadvantage is a potential misinformation from incorrect or missing information in the HIS, or due to changes of the data after the code was created. The QR-code-based patient tracking is seen as a useful complement to the already widely used identification wristband.