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Royal Derby Hospital leads the way with barcode scanning technology

Published 26/08/2015

A simple idea - based on the barcode scanners used in supermarkets - which is transforming surgical operations at the Royal Derby Hospital has been recognised with a major national award.

The Derby hospital is the first in the country to use barcodes, linked to a patient’s wristband, to accurately track the medical equipment used in its operating theatres.

These barcodes identify each individual patient and create a record of each patient’s operation. This record shows exactly which hospital staff were in theatre, how long the operation took, precisely what equipment was used and how much it all cost.

The software also automatically monitors and reorders stock, producing substantial savings. This innovation has already helped Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust save more than £120,000.

The software also improves patient safety as the scanners produce an individualised record of each surgical intervention.

The handheld barcode scanner system was named as the winner in the E Health Insider awards, for best use of IT to support healthcare business efficiency. The awards recognise achievement in IT used in healthcare.

This Derby innovation has already won national acclaim, winning the costing award at the 2014 Healthcare Financial Management Association Awards. 

Kevin Downs, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Performance, said: “It’s another accolade for Derby Teaching Hospitals to be shortlisted for this award. This technology has made a huge difference to staff working in our operating theatres, and therefore to our patients. Being put forward for awards such as this is an important way of showcasing the innovative work which is taking place across the hospital.”

Derby Teaching Hospitals is one of 12 hospitals in the UK shortlisted by the Department of Health as a potential ‘demonstrator site’ to showcase the benefits of a national rollout of this barcode numbering system across the NHS.


Last Modified 16/02/2016