Way-Paver Awards for Bedside Barcoding Presented at unSUMMIT

On September 18, The TerraPharma Project will present the 2014 Sue Kinnick Way-Paver Awards for Healthcare Barcoding at its ninth unSUMMIT for Healthcare Barcoding in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Since its inception in 2006, The Way-Paver Award for Bedside Barcoding has acknowledged the exceptional contributions of individuals and organizations who have helped clear the path and pave the way to safer patient care by applying bar-code technology in healthcare.

Known to many as “the mother of hospital barcoding,” Sue Kinnick, R.N., is being posthumously bestowed with one of three 2014 Way-Paver Awards.

“Because of her ground-breaking work,” says Mark Neuenschwander, cofounder of The unSUMMIT, “The TerraPharma Project is pleased to announce that the name of the award is being changed to The Sue Kinnick Way-Paver for Healthcare Barcoding.”

In 1992, while returning a rental car in Seattle, a light went on for Kinnick while watching an agent scan a barcode on a windshield. If a scanner could bring up her rental record, couldn’t scanning barcodes on patient wristbands pull up their medical records? How about scanning medications to verify a match before administering them to patients?

Upon returning to her hospital in Topeka, Kinnick convinced her IT department to design such a system and barcoding at the point of care was born. Because of her unflagging efforts, these medication-administration safety systems were implemented hospital-wide by 1995. Unfortunately, Sue’s passing in 1997 meant that she did not live to see the full reward of her labors. By 1999, the entire Veteran’s Administration Healthcare system adopted barcode technology, paving a path that the rest of America’s hospitals would eventually take.

“Today more than two-thirds of America’s hospitals are scanning most patients and mediations at the point of care,” notes Jamie Kelly, cofounder of The unSUMMIT. “Inestimable harm has been avoided, careers protected, and patient lives spared because of Kinnick’s ingenuity and leadership.” 

According to the Institute of Medicine, medication errors are involved in 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries and 7,000 drug-related deaths each year in U.S. hospitals. Barcode scanning of patients, medications, laboratory specimens, and blood products at the point of care, combined with pharmacy and nursing best practices, prevents harm to patients and saves lives.

Receiving the 2014 Institutional Way-Paver Award is St. Alexius Medical Center of Bismarck, North Dakota.

St. Alexius was one of the first hospitals in America to use barcoding in materials management in order to improve efficiencies and lower costs. The medical center was also an early adopter of barcoding to verify patients and medications at the point of care. In addition to rigorously studying and improving its processes, St. Alexius has generously maintained an open-door policy for demonstrating its systems and sharing lessons learned with other organizations from across the nation and around the world.

A personal contribution Way-Paver Award will be presented to Frank Kilzer who, during his 46 years of service at St. Alexius, led the medical center’s bar-coding efforts. Kilzer leaves a legacy in Bismarck, ND, and beyond to healthcare systems around the globe due to his relentless commitment and success in identifying and implementing state-of-the-art bar-code technologies along with sound processes. Kilzer has generously shared his knowledge by hosting site visits, writing articles, lecturing at conferences and serving on leading national and international barcode technology work groups.

The 2014 Sue Kinnick Way-Paver for Healthcare Barcoding Awards will be presented at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans at The unSUMMIT for Healthcare Barcoding’s ninth annual meeting in partnership with BlueStar’s VARTECH Solutions Show.