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Track Medical Samples Using QR Codes and a Mobile App

Healthcare and asset tracking

Hospitals and medical testing centers are institutions where management of assets like tools and medical samples are of utmost importance. Any mistake or mismanagement can have serious consequences, sometimes even death. Medical instruments, supplies, and samples are also extremely expensive and require significant investments. Medical samples especially are critical as they are matched to each individual patient and undergo numerous treatments. Hence there are various categories of samples and tools spread across wide facilities. Added to this, databases and records need to be maintained about samples, their patients and the medical procedures performed.

medical sample trackingOld-school methods of asset tracking in hospitals were extremely rigorous and time-consuming. Human error is also a major concern with any manual process. With the rise of latest technologies in software and tracking, asset tracking of medical samples and equipment has been greatly streamlined and simplified. Automation of databases and check-in/check-out procedures has greatly reduced the number of errors and misplacements. QR codes and barcodes, cloud-based data storage, mobile-based platforms and RFID tags are some of the modern tools available for efficient tacking of medical samples. Mentioned below are some key applications and benefits of modern asset tracking methods.

Real-Time tracking capabilities- Using QR codes on sample vessels, we can provide a lot of information to the medical examiner and have live tracking. By using smartphone scanning features, the QR code on the sample can be scanned to view all the necessary information and send a feedback regarding its current status and location. Live tracking of medical samples will protect against loss of samples and misallocation of patients.

Using a smartphone platform- Having a user-friendly dashboard on a smartphone which is connected to the cloud servers is an extremely handy tool in asset tracking. Sample updates can be seen live at any point of time. Turn-around time for patient care and its quality can be enhanced by continuous availability of live data. Smartphones can also be equipped with powerful scanning capabilities which can scan QR codes and barcodes. Hospitals thus can save capital by eliminating the use of expensive scanning devices.

Customizable tags- QR stickers and tags can be customized according to various categories of samples, their dates, patients, etc. Customizable tags can also provide access control. Access to samples can be restricted to only those which the scan passes.

RFID technology- RFID tags have widespread application in asset tracking processes. By attaching sample vessels with RFID tags we can not only automate echk-in/check-outs, but also get live data on its current location.

Special concerns with asset tracking devices in the medical field.

Unlike assets in other industries, samples and medical tools are subjected to a wide range of extreme physical and chemical conditions. This is due to storage and medical processes. The tags and stickers used to mark sample vessels must survive such conditions without losing functionality. The most common condition is extremely high temperatures as sterilization is a common process. The QR codes and RFID tags must survive such conditions and remain operational.  

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