‘The requirement for absolute accuracy is vital in the healthcare setting. In this case, by understanding the problems our client was facing we were able to apply our expert knowledge in labelling materials, printing and application to provide the solution.’
The subject of this study is West Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust who, at their Southlands Hospital site, has a re-packaging unit. The unit receives deliveries directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers and is responsible for preparing ready-to-dispense packs for pharmacies across the region.
Clearly the accuracy of the re-packaging process is vital and any errors could literally have life or death consequences.
They came to Piroto with a specific problem that they had identified in the labelling process that was presenting a high risk to the operation.
The Customer’s Challenge
The customer had moved from a manual to a barcoded identification system to save time and reduce human error; yet problems were still arising in the operation. In some cases barcodes were being incorrectly read and thus products were being misidentified, severely compromising the process and potentially leading to very serious consequences indeed.
Zero tolerance was acceptable in this scenario so the Trust decided to talk to Piroto about possible solutions.
Having experienced the re-packing operation the Piroto team soon identified the issue. The unit were producing their own dispensing labels, containing a new barcode plus instructions for using the drug, and applying these over the manufacturers’ packs. In some cases the manufacturers’ own barcodes could still be seen through the dispensing label. This led to picking errors through failing barcodes and, in the worst cases, scanning the wrong product item.
It was clear that a label material was needed that would block out the original barcode 100% and had to be compatible with the customer’s laser printers. With that in mind our technical team went ahead and tested the various options.
What we delivered
After testing a number of suitable samples the team were confident that a material which contained an opaque layer between the adhesive and the face paper would work well to block out any text underneath the label. The material was also suitable for laser printing so was perfect for the job.
Once the new labels were produced they were rigorously tested on site. The barcodes on the new dispensing labels scanned accurately, regardless of what was printed on the original manufacturer’s carton.
The impact on the customer’s business
Through working in partnership with Piroto, West Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust regained confidence in their re-packaging unit; secure in the knowledge that their systems were time saving, free from human error and,above all, were reliable and safe.