PEI

Instrument tracking system to improve patient safety at QEH

Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital is installing a new system to keep track of medical instruments, with the help of a donation from the QEH Auxiliary.

'Eventually the system will track each individual instrument'

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown will soon be one of just a few hospitals in the country to have a new electronic system to track medical instruments. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown will soon be one of the few hospitals in the country to have a new system to keep track of medical instruments, with the help of a donation from the QEH Auxiliary.

Dorothy Johnston, a past president of the QEH Auxiliary, said the funding will provide an important service to Islanders and their safety. 

Bar-coding system

"I know there are certain things that are needed that are not seen by the public's eye — so this way we are helping the hospital and the patients get a better service," she said. 

Hundreds of trays and the instruments they contain for various medical procedures will be permanently marked with bar codes.

Susan MacKinnon, supply, processing and distribution department at QEH, says the new instrument tracking system is 'cutting edge.' (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Susan MacKinnon, manager of the supply, processing and distribution department, said the system will allow the department to keep track of its inventory. 

"We're going to be bar-coding instrument trays that will then be stored in our software. So, every tray will be scanned as it leaves or comes to our department and that's our traceability," she said.

"It will allow us to know how many of each item we have."

'Cutting edge'

MacKinnon said her department is crucial in the day to day operations at the hospital. 

"If we don't do our work correctly … that surgery is cancelled for the day and that patient has been impacted in a very serious way."

Each tray will be marked with its own bar code. (QEH Auxiliary)

The system will cost $275,000 which has been donated by the auxiliary and will be operational in the coming months. The QEH will be one of only about a dozen hospitals in the country to have one. 

"It's really ... cutting edge. We're one of maybe 10 hospitals in Canada right now that have this technology," said MacKinnon.  

The hospital has already purchased washing and disinfecting equipment for instruments with donations from the auxiliary.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Nancy Russell

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