Healthcare labels are one of the most important forms of communication in the hospital and other healthcare facilities. They help organizations track medications, assets, samples and nearly anything of value in the hospital.
While healthcare organizations invest millions in cutting edge equipment to provide better services, the importance of label supplies is often overlooked, that is until something goes wrong. Yet patient safety and a consistent workflow are dependent on labels being readable throughout their life cycle.
Hospitals are a harsh environment for labels, and over the years, many solutions have been developed to ensure that healthcare labels remain adhered to their intended surface and remain readable and scannable. Depending on the application, labels must withstand heat, cold, moisture, chemicals and repeated handling. Healthcare organizations have many uses for labels, including:
- Patient files
- Positive patient ID (PPID)
- Specimen collection and lab samples
- Repackaged medications and other pharmacy applications
- Asset and inventory management
- Organizational logistics
Choosing the Right Healthcare Label Solution
Each of these applications has unique challenges. To choose the right label solution for your needs, consider the surface the label will be applied to, the size and shape of the label, and the environmental factors the label must withstand. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating the right label solutions.
Does the application have heat or cold requirements? For example, some labels must handle the high heat of sterilization. Other items require cold storage. In both cases, labels must perform at both extreme temperatures and room temperature.
What type of surface will the label be adhered to? Most healthcare labels are designed to work well on glass and plastic containers. But labeling metal racks in cold storage may require a different solution. Many labels are applied to paper and some are applied to moist surfaces. Also note if intended surfaces are flat or curved. Each of these factors will play a role in selecting a label that will be readable throughout its life cycle.
What type of adhesive is required? For example, are your labels removable or permanent, or do they require a high tack or an acrylic adhesive?
Is the label being placed on a blood or IV bag? Healthcare labels should withstand cold storage and room-temperature use, along with resistance to heat and moisture and the ability to withstand sterilization and exposure to water baths.
Will the label require spinning in a centrifuge at high speed? Adhesion must be great enough to withstand the spinning.
What size of label is needed? How large is the surface to be labeled and how much information will the label contain? For example, small cryogenic tubes and vials require a specific size and shape to ensure that the label stays adhered.
Does the label need to be laminated or coated? Coating and lamination help withstand moisture. Labs, pharmacies and other departments will benefit from heat and chemical-resistant coatings, and UV coatings can add another layer of label protection.
Consultative approach for helping hospitals save money
With so many factors to consider, choosing the right healthcare labels for each application can be complex. DecisionPoint can help you streamline the process of selecting the right label types for each job and save money in the process. For example, DecisionPoint offers a Make and Ship program for custom labels that ensures the correct label material is used for your applications. As well as ensuring that quick delivery of your mission critical label is available when you need it as we maintain on-site storage of these labels for you. You can draw on the expertise of our team of labeling experts to match the best pre printed labeling solution for your application. DecisionPoint will help you select the right material and adhesive for each application and provide guidance on the sizes and shapes needed for each application.
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