Case Studies

Investment in new technology improves
patient care

Mayday Healthcare

About The Trust

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTUH) provides acute medical services to almost 400,000 people in South West Essex, United Kingdom. The trust treats approximately 63,000 inpatients, provides 270,000 outpatient consultations and attends to more than 90,000 patients in A&E every year.

The challenge

In July 2007 the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) issued a Safer Practice Notice to all hospitals and trusts in the UK containing guidelines to improve patient safety and care. This notice required all hospitals to implement systems for producing barcoded wristbands at the patient’s bedside by July 2009. “It was important for us to find a solution that complied with the NPSA (National Patient Safety Agency) guidelines to introduce electronically printed patient ID wristbands but that would also deliver benefits to our patients and staff,” explained Michelle Smith, Project Manager for the BTUH.

Without electronically printed wristbands, patient identification processes involve a handwritten wristband which is issued to patients as they are checked into the ward for treatment. Handwritten wristbands often need to be replaced during a patient’s stay as details can begin to rub off, especially if a patient has to stay in hospital for any length of time. This re-issuing of patient wristbands not only increases the hospital’s cost to purchase consumables but also results in additional admin for staff.

Without additional budget allocated by the NHS to introduce electronic wristbands it was crucial that the final wristband solution could deliver a fast return on investment (ROI) and be integrated seamlessly with BTUH’s existing Patient Administration System (PAS), where all patient records and personal details are stored.

The solution

The BTUH looked at other wristband solution providers, but selected the Zebra® HC100 wristband printer following a demonstration by The Barcode Warehouse and a visit to another hospital that was successfully deploying the HC100. In addition, The Barcode Warehouse worked closely with the trust to ensure that the printer could be quickly and easily integrated with its existing PAS. When a patient is admitted to a BTUH ward, the HC100™ Patient I.D. Solution enables clinical staff to access patient information from the BTUH PAS, confirming the patient’s identification and print a wristband showing the patient’s last and first names, NHS ID and Patient ID numbers, date of birth and a 2D barcode. Using a simple cartridge system staff can easily change wristbands in the printer from standard adult bands to paediatric, neonatal or colour coded bands which identify allergies. In addition the self adhesive and antimicrobial coated wristbands contained within the HC100 printer are also able to help BTUH to meet with its own infection control agenda.

Ready for the future

“The ability for the printed wristbands to include a barcode was important to the BTUH as it means we are deploying a future proof solution. With the growth of electronic clinical and administrative systems, barcodes that can easily be read with a hand held scanner will become a crucial identification tool,” commented Smith. This will be of particular importance for hospitals which deploy Haemonetics, the blood tracking solution which already involves the reading of barcodes to check patient ID.


Following the successful roll out of 50 HC100 wristband printing systems within the trust’s two hospitals in July 2009, BTUH Foundation NHS Trust has not only enhanced patient care and complied with NPSA guidance, it has also resulted in a significant reduction of consumable costs by issuing only one wristband to each patient.


“The technical expertise and integration capabilities provided by the Barcode Warehouse and Zebra Technologies partnership ensured that we have a wristband printing solution to meet today’s requirements and those of tomorrow,” Michelle Smith, Project Manager BTUH.