Blood Tests, Barcodes & Blind Spots: Sample360 App Cuts Costly Errors by Phlebotomy Samples with Code’s CortexDecoder SDK
Check your blind spot!
It’s "Driving 101" for merging and changing lanes. Yet overlooking blind spots causes 800,000 accidents annually in the US alone (per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The problem is pervasive enough that blind-spot monitoring systems are increasingly common in new passenger vehicles sold in America.
Drivers aren’t the only ones overlooking blind spots—improperly labeled and tracked blood tests lead to incorrect diagnosis and angst. However, clinicians and hospitals now have a blind spot monitoring system, too: MSoft eSolutions’ Sample360.
Available as software or a standalone smartphone app, Sample360 is a powerful sample tracking and management solution. Utilizing Code’s CortexDecoder barcode scanning software development kit (SDK), Sample360 improves safety and efficiency by tracking samples from collection to lab analysis.
Sample-taking isn’t Always Simple
Sampling has long relied on manual data collection. For routine blood tests, a sheet of labels is printed and collected by a busy nurse, who then locates the patient. After a quick visual check, the labels are peeled off and attached (hopefully) to the right tubes. Like most manual processes, it was cost-effective—until it wasn’t.
Many errors, MSoft discovered, related to positive patient identification and incorrect labeling—rushed caregivers just glanced at patient materials. Secondly, sample requests could change from initial label printing (up to two days prior) until collection. The papers were indeed a blind spot—nurses weren’t notified of deviations, such as additional sample requests.
"In those instances are varying error rates," explains Matt McAlister, MSoft’s managing director. "Look at a typical hospital collecting a million samples annually through Sample360; before integration, they averaged a 6% error rate. Looking at a million, 60,000 incorrect samples—with the wrong name or person—were rejected. When hospitals switched to Sample360, errors dropped to 0.
"A rejected sample costs approximately £14.00. Multiplied by 60,000, that's how much rejections cost because the samples weren’t done properly," he says.
MSoft calculates that Sample360 saves the average health trust £560,000 annually.
Bullish about New Markets
There’s little wonder why Sample360 has conquered the UK. First, it is an independent provider, making it quite unique. Secondly, the cloud-based app is mobile for use in all sorts of settings, from hospitals to patients’ homes.
"We are truly independent of lab and hospital systems because we run a standards-based communication protocol using HL7 (for standardized medical data transfer)," McAlister explains. "We offer much more than big lab systems. In a mini-tender with UK clinicians, we scored 95%; they scored 40% because they were missing parts like off-site surgeries."
Sample360’s performance has opened new markets, like the United Arab Emirates, and created opportunities, such as animal husbandry.
"There are spinoffs—we could end up in the veterinary world because we know there are high-value assets worth tracking. For example, we had a party wanting to track bull semen because it’s worth an absolute fortune and is transported globally."
Given its global application scope, Sample360 is scalable and compatible with devices like mobile label printers. The app is compatible with iOS, Android, and their common handhelds, such as iPhones in hospitals and ruggedized Samsung devices in industry.
Poised for a Pandemic?
At the onset of the 2020 pandemic, Sample360 leaped from operating theaters to the frontlines.
"Our prime interest is surgical needs, collecting and sending samples to a central hub. We’re also instrumental in large hospital networks that have samples moving between facilities," McAlister notes. "But we've also been involved with massive COVID-related projects as needs evolved from antigen to antibody testing."
With testing key to curtailing COVID, the UK’s government sought data to gauge progress. This need created an opening for Sample360 because it provides a central data hub with an integrated business intelligence tool—a quantum leap over previous systems.
"When the UK government was conducting COVID tests, there was a huge outcry because they were storing data in an old version of Microsoft Excel, which was limited to about 64,000 records," McAlister recalls. "They discovered they were missing records and had incorrect sums, forcing a mass-upgrade to Excel’s latest version. This is when you realize that the systems behind the scenes of these big organizations are antiquated."
Behind Sample360’s Success?
Barcodes. Sample360 allows a nurse to print labels (with barcodes) and tag samples during collection anywhere, like bedside. The sample is rescanned with the patient’s ID wristband for positive patient identification; the sample is then scanned throughout transit to verify appropriate handling and timely transit. Once at the lab, another scan closes the loop.
Sample360 is seamless; however, its development wasn’t as smooth. MSoft initially used barcode scanning jackets that were increasingly outdated and expensive; Sample360’s developers then migrated to a conglomerate’s barcode image processing library. However, it didn’t offer the barcode scanning quality needed in frenetic healthcare settings.
"We contacted another organization and had a conversation, but they did not understand our needs. Then I found Code and began the conversation—we liked Code’s flexible approach.
We chose Code and are happy with our experience. Among the things we're pleased with are barcode scanning speed and quality. It’s significantly faster than the scanning jackets," McAlister shares.
Sample360's rapid scanning on the front end and rapid integration on the back end are tremendous advantages—especially for large hospital networks. In Southampton, England, MSoft implemented Sample360 in a network of 30+ hospitals in less than a month, no small feat considering this was during COVID-19’s onset.
Off to the Races!
Vanguard athletes (both equine and human) can undergo anti-doping blood and urine tests virtually anytime, anywhere. Since titles, purses, and pride ride on results, athletics are prime for Sample360 because every link in the custody chain is verified via barcode. Similarly, law enforcement and prisons can collect samples for drug and alcohol tests as warranted.
"The use can be anything where a sample is taken from a body—human or animal—then that specimen is transported for analysis. Sample360 is the product to do that," McAlister concludes.
Ready to upgrade your operation’s sample tracking and handling with a 360° view? Contact MSoft to learn more about Sample360 integration.
Will better barcode scanning boost the bottom line? Contact Code; let’s find the right barcode reader or software for your product or project.