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IT & Computer Science
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Research Proposal
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Bar Code Technology in Healthcare: The Opportunities and Implementation Issues (Research Proposal Sample)

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Implementing issues about Bar Code Technology in Healthcare
The proposed research topic was selected for the investigation due to the theoretical and practical relevance of the topic, and the fact that despite being an important issue, it has not been widely studied in research. The researcher was also motivated by their interest in the use of new technologies in healthcare, believing that the benefits that have been seen in the business field can also be experienced in the health sector, and goes a long way in improving efficiency. Lastly, the proposed research is relevant with regard to the investigator’s major, as it related to the ICT application in real life issues, to develop solutions and improve human life.

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Implementing issues about Bar Code Technology in Healthcare
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Bar Code Technology in Healthcare: The Opportunities and Implementation Issues
Introduction
The bar code technology consideration for use in the healthcare sector dates back to the 1970s, when it was discovered that the then new technology could also be applied in the healthcare sector to improve inventory management and identification functions among others. In the recent decades, the relative success that has been recorded with the use of the technology has underscored the role that the technology can play in the healthcare sector. This is so especially considering that the sector is facing multiple challenges in managing the huge amounts of information that it needed to be processed every day. For example, healthcare professionals need to track inventory, identify patients, validate patients, and manage medication ordering ad acquisition processes without the opportunity to make costly medial errors. In view of the working of the bar ode technology, it is important to consider the fact that the technology may be used to deliver a cost-effective and easy-to-use tool for healthcare professional to manage these challenges, and improve healthcare delivery (Pinkerton, 2004). It is in this backdrop that the proposed study goes to explore the specific ways that the bar code technology can be leveraged in the health sector to improve healthcare. Relevantly, also, the researcher intends to explore the challenges related to application and implementation, and the approaches which the industry may consider in an effort to optimize the use of the technology.
The proposed study is relevant in the healthcare sector, especially considering that there are multiple issues in healthcare that may be managed using the technology, yet it has not become a widespread application in the sector. For example, inventory management functions done in the commercial sectors are not entirely different than those done in the healthcare sector, yet despite success in the business sector, the technology’s use in medical field remains limited. This warrants study of the proposed topic, with a view to showing how challenges in the healthcare sector, such as those related to the reduction of medical errors and promotion of patient safety may be managed using the bar code technology. To this end, the proposed research findings paper will be relevant to healthcare professional, hospital administrators and managers, and even policy makers who are bent on seeing improvements in healthcare delivery.
The proposed research topic was selected for the investigation due to the theoretical and practical relevance of the topic, and the fact that despite being an important issue, it has not been widely studied in research. The researcher was also motivated by their interest in the use of new technologies in healthcare, believing that the benefits that have been seen in the business field can also be experienced in the health sector, and goes a long way in improving efficiency. Lastly, the proposed research is relevant with regard to the investigator’s major, as it related to the ICT application in real life issues, to develop solutions and improve human life.
Definition of Common Terms
Bar code – it is a machine readable and optical data representation, with the data being information or description of the item on which the bar code is attached.
Medical errors – any preventable event that occurs in the process of delivering healthcare in the control of the healthcare professional or patient, which results in adverse health implications.
Problem Statement and Justification
Healthcare professionals face the challenges of avoiding medical errors in their practices. This is so because the medial practitioners are human, and even the most experienced medical veterans are prone to human error, even when they are working every second to avoid them. Understandably, in healthcare, even slight errors can have far reaching medical implications. With the advent of the information age and the adoption of information systems in healthcare, healthcare professionals now have a lot of data and information, which they must manage and use in an effort to boost healthcare for patients. However, the healthcare professionals face challenges in managing the information and handling the patient detail. For instance, challenges may arise when it comes to identifying and validating patients, confirming the medications ordered against the prescriptions and patients, and handling the hospital inventory for efficient healthcare delivery. It is assumed, in view of the historical use of bar codes in inventory and process management and tracking in the commercial sector, that the technology may find application in the healthcare sector. Bar codes would therefore be used to manage patient information and reduce the associated medical errors, ultimately resulting in improvements in healthcare.
On that note, the proposed research aims at exploring the bar code technology as it relates to the use of the technology in healthcare to address the varied challenges identified earlier in the paper. The main idea is to see how the same benefits that hav been documented and seen in the commercial sector may be applied in healthcare sector. Based on the primary and secondary data that the researcher expects to gather and analyze during the research, recommendations will be provided on how the bar code technology may be applied in the healthcare sector to boost patient safety.
Literature Review
The bar code technology is not new in any way, as it has been applied in commerce for several decades. The focus has been the use of the bar code technology to improved product identification and tracking, wth the technology findings widespread application in inventory management among other areas (Gao, Prakash & Jagatesan, 2007). It may be argued that to this end, the bar coding technology has been instrumental in improving product identification, tracking ad inventory management in commerce, such as in the supermarket system. The result has a high level of efficiency in inventory management and reduction of errors in product order, management of demand and supply, and the general store management. In view of the success that wa realize when using the bar code technology in the commercial sector, there was an interest to apply th same technology in the healthcare sector, so as to help in addressing the myriad challenges that healthcare professionals face every day, as they strive to enhance patient safety by reducing errors and enhancing patient safety. To this end, there is a considerable amount of studies that java considered the use of bar coding technologies I healthcare. It is notable, however, that the issue of bar coding technology use in healthcare has not received extensive research attention, hence the extent body of literature exploring the specific matter of use of bar code technology remains largely limited. This section is intended to review the existing literature, so that a background understanding of the research topic is developed, in order to lay the basis for the proposed research.
An exploration by Sriram, Rao, Biswas & Ahmed (1996) showed that the use of bar coding technologies was beneficial in managing storage and retrieval of products, with the main model being the facilitation of product identification and retrieval. Thus bar codes are effective in reducing the waste of time, and it promoted efficiency in the reduction of errors. The overall result is that when bar codes are employed in processes, it enables people to be more effective at controlling and managing products and processes (Sriram, Rao, Biswas & Ahmed, 1996). This application finds opportune application in healthcare, where the need to reduce medical errors and promote healthcare continues to grow. On the same note, the introduction of 2D bar codes was touted to deliver more efficiency, especially in view of the growing popularity of m-commerce, and the need to grow emerging demands in the mobile computing real (Gao, Prakash & Jagatesan, 2007). The authors explored new designs for the bar codes, proposing that 2D bar coding technologies could be highly efficient in delivering more accuracy and reliability for commerce (Gao, Prakash & Jagatesan, 2007). Notably, the application of the technology in the medical field could benefit the sector, by delivering the same benefits as would be expected in the business sector. As it were, the main challenge in the bar coding technology, as in any other technology, is the implementation process. With the right introduction an implementation process within the healthcare sector, especially with tailoring and position of the technological change to address specific healthcare issues, the desired goals of the implementation could be realized.
A study conducted in 2003 to explore the use of bar codes in hospital revealed that bar codes could be useful in reducing errors in blood transfusion (Turner, Casbard & Murphy, 2003). The researchers reported after their investigation that when the physicians engaged in blood transfusion without the use of bar codes, the number of errors were higher than when bar codes were used. The specific uses of bar codes in the context of blood transfusion included patient identification and blood compatibility issues (Turner, Casbard & Murphy, 2003). The improvement recorded by the researchers was significant, increasing from 11.8%, to 100% success in verbally identifying the patients (Turner, Casbard & Murphy, 2003). This underscores the importance and reliability of bar codes in healthcare, as the authors recommended that th...
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