Healthcare is one of the many sectors that has benefited from advances
in mobile data capture technology, which is used In a host of different
applications. One organisation that has recently upgraded to one of the
latest cordless imagers is the Cardiff Toxicology Laboratories. The
laboratories are using the Motorola DS6878-HC, sourced by Spirit Data
Capture Limited. This has already led to improvements in efficiency by
streamlining the processing of analytical requests.
The Cardiff Toxicology Laboratories are based at University Hospital
Llandough, which is part of the Cardiff and Vale University Health
Board, one of the largest NHS organisations in the UK. The laboratories
are accredited according to CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation)
standards and deliver analytical toxicology services to healthcare
providers, research institutions and industry.
Every analytical request that passes through the laboratories is
allocated a unique seven-digit number that acts as the primary
identifier in all subsequent operations. Originally, the department
used to enter these numbers manually, but this proved to be an
inefficient and labour-intensive procedure that was prone to error. The
laboratories therefore decided to explore the use of barcodes and
electronic readers, with the aim of removing data entry errors and
Initially, the department bought some barcode readers that were
physically connected to a PC via a USB cable. However, it recently
decided to upgrade these to a more versatile system.
Cable-free data capture
Dr Alun Hutchings, Consultant Analytical Toxicologist with the Cardiff
Toxicology Laboratories, explains: "We needed devices that were robust
and reliable, that were programmable and were cable-free. I explained
our requirements to Spirit Data Capture and they recommended the
Motorola DS6878-HC. They loaned a device to us and I was very impressed
The Motorola DS6878-HC is a cordless imager developed specifically for
the healthcare sector. It has been designed to enable hospitals to
automate data capture, improve data accuracy, increase productivity and
streamline everyday processes in patient rooms, laboratories and the
pharmacy. It uses Bluetooth technology and can capture any 1D or 2D
barcodes as well as signatures, documents, still photographs and videos.
The imager’s high performance scanning capabilities (which include rapid
and accurate scanning even on poor quality barcodes) is complemented by
the device’s excellent levels of reliability. It has a lightweight,
ergonomic design but is extremely rugged.
The laboratories have now installed the Motorola imagers and are using
them to read the primary identifier (the seven-digit number) on every
request. The devices are uses for request registration on the
Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), with subsequent data
entry and results authorisation.
The Motorola DS6878-HC imagers are also used conjunction with the
department’s GCMS (Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry) system, for
the creation of work lists prior to analysis. These lists can include
well over 100 numbers, so the scanner is programmed to read in the data
followed by a down-arrow command.
Dr Hutchings comments: "The Motorola units enable us to create the work
lists in an error-free way and in significantly less time than it would
take to perform the task manually."
He adds: "So far, the Motorola imagers have been performing perfectly.
They have boosted the efficiency of our analytical request operations
whilst also reducing the risk of any errors. Their programmability also
makes them very flexible. At the same time, the users are very pleased
with them because they make their data entry tasks easier to accomplish.
"Since loaning us the first device, Spirit have offered us assistance in
setting up the units we have purchased and programming them. They have
provided us with an excellent service throughout and I would definitely
use them again in the future."