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Olympus osYris™, British Hospital Patient Identification System Proven to Reduce Medical Errors, Debuts in US

BALTIMORE, MD, October 23, 2004 - In a society where preventable medical errors account for more deaths than either car accidents or breast cancer, Olympus is taking steps to help eliminate one of the most prevalent causes of medical error – the mistaken identification of patients. Olympus osYris™, a proven, modular patient safety system that reduces hospital error by helping eliminate the improper matching of patients with the wrong blood products, medications or treatments, debuted in the US today at the national American Association of Blood Banks meeting.

New to the US market but well established in the United Kingdom where they are used in more than 10 hospitals, Olympus osYris modular solutions employ a unique patient wristband that provides fast, accurate patient identification. The system’s two-dimensional barcoded wristband, used in conjunction with handheld PDA scanners and hospital and laboratory information systems, helps promote easy, positive ID of patients and proper matching with caregivers, blood products, laboratory specimens, images and results.

Each patient’s wristband contains both eye readable information and the two dimensional barcode, providing two independent sources of the same vital patient data. Using PDAs to scan the wristband, caregivers identify patients and can order tests and blood products at the patient’s bedside. Each caregiver, blood unit and specimen label that also has its own unique barcoded identifier can also be scanned and the information entered into the system, helping ensure that specimens and treatments can be correctly matched with patients. Olympus osYris can also provide the hospital laboratory and other departments with advance notice of upcoming orders or requests, helping manage workflow.

"We are pleased to launch the Olympus osYris Patient Safety Solutions, which can do so much to help reduce preventable medical errors," said Stephen E. Wasserman, group vice president for the Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group. "Its debut in the US reflects Olympus America’s long-time corporate focus on enhanced patient safety as part of its ongoing mission throughout its healthcare business units."

Easy to implement and use, Olympus osYris modules interface with key hospital departments and information systems and require little training to use. For instance, when a blood specimen is required, the phlebotomist or nurse using Olympus osYris systems goes to the patient bedside, scans his or her own caregiver barcoded ID, and then scans the patient’s two-dimensional barcoded wristband. He or she automatically receives sample collection information including the type and number of tubes required via the handheld PDA. With a portable printer, the caregiver can also print barcoded labels to be placed on the specimen tubes right at the patient’s bedside, eliminating handwriting and transcription errors. The system records when the specimen was drawn and who drew it, so the laboratory has an audit of all transactions and knows to expect the specimen.

The system can also track blood products from the time they first enter the hospital, documenting their removal from the hospital refrigerator and their arrival at the patient’s bedside. In the hospital’s blood bank, transfusion requests are matched to specific units of blood to be transfused. A compatibility label with both eye-readable and barcoded information is generated and placed on the blood product, allowing users to match the patient demographics, blood type and other key information. When the blood arrives on the patient care unit, the nurse scans his or her own identification, the patient’s wristband and each blood unit label to ensure the accuracy of the match.

The system has several modules, which can be implemented individually or in tandem. In hospitals in the UK where such systems are installed, laboratory test turnaround times have improved and patient identification errors have been reduced. According to Mr. Chris Charlton, FIBMS, MBA, Clinical Laboratory Service Manager, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, UK, "Until now, the fastest we processed a test result was between three and four hours. Now the turnaround time can be as little as 30 minutes." Following installation, a recent audit has adjudicated that the hospital's risk in this area has also been reduced, helping the hospital to achieve improved risk management status.

For more information about Olympus osYris patient safety systems, email terry.giacomo@olympus.com, phone 631/844-5648, or visit the patient safety section of Olympus’ website at www.olympusamerica.com/patientsafety.

About Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group
Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group provides innovative solutions that meet the high productivity demands of hospitals, integrated healthcare delivery networks, reference labs, blood banks and pharmaceutical labs. Olympus offers the broadest standardized line of random access chemistry-immuno analyzers, along with lab automation systems, comprehensive patient safety systems, blood bank analyzers and reagents. Olympus solutions save laboratories time, enhance patient safety, maximize productivity, and deliver fast, reliable results.

About Olympus
Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Tokyo-based Olympus Corporation, to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents; and
  • Digital and film cameras, and digital voice recorders.

In the U. S. and Canada, Olympus serves healthcare, scientific and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers efficiently, reliably, safely, and easily achieve superior results. Olympus is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. The company’s market-leading consumer electronics business spans North and South America. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.