When anesthesiologist Trent Bryson of UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital in Dallas tells how the hospital has benefitted from Vigilant Software’s solution to streamline drug labeling in the OR, he speaks about patient safety and thousands of dollars in revenue that is no longer lost.

Vigilant Software efficiently prints labels for syringes in the OR, all with the scan of a barcode on an anesthesiologist’s badge. The software ties a small printer that sits on the anesthesiology cart to EMR, so that when a new case starts in the OR, the badge is scanned, releasing labels to print. This automation of the anesthesia label printer makes life a lot simpler for those like Bryson.

Created by anesthesiologist Peter Baek , Vigilant Software improves patient safety by ensuring the proper drug and dosage are administered in a high-stress, at-times chaotic environment. It can also help hospitals recover what would have been thousands of dollars in lost revenue by ensuring all drugs are documented to a patient’s record, billing them or the insurance company for them.

Without Vigilant Software, anesthesiologists can have a backward workflow, administering drugs, then documenting them in Epic or another platform. It’s up to the anesthesiologist to do this at the end of a case, when he or she is safely bringing a patient out of anesthesia and ensuring a smooth transition to PACU, all the while being pressured to quickly turn the case over. Put simply, he or she may forget to enter all drugs administered into a patient’s EMR.

That means the patient or their insurance may not be billed for pharmacy charges.

While Vigilant Software was initially created to streamline processes in the OR and ensure all drugs are labeled properly — thus safeguarding patients to avoid giving them the incorrect drugs — the savings it brings hospitals is undeniable.

When the anesthesiologist does enter drug and dosage information manually into EMR after a procedure, there is always room for human error. “Fat finger errors” may mean the incorrect dosage is accidentally entered into records, especially when the anesthesiologist is moving quickly on the computer keyboard, trying to move the process of turning over a case along.

Of course, this could mean billing issues, resulting in inaccurate charges.


Realizing there is always room for improvement, William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital implemented Vigilant Software in ENTER date, year . While the hospital may have begun using the solution to ensure proper compliance, anesthesia drug labelling and patient safety, within X months of using it, pharmacy revenue losses went down about 50%. The hospital was able to better record anesthetics administered in the OR, ultimately billing the patients or their insurance companies for them.

Bryson equated the cost savings of using the software and anesthesia drug labelling system – taking into consideration the price to implement them – to one to five vials of ephedrine per week per OR for one year.

Another benefit?

The scanners used to read the bar codes on anesthesiologist’s badges as part of the Vigilant Software system enable other technology at his hospital.

Of course, patient safety is always top priority, and news headlines and studies illustrate why.

A recent indictment of former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse Radonda Leanne Vaught underscores the importance of patient safety. Vaught was indicted Feb. 1, 2019, on a homicide charge after she overrode safeguards on a medical dispensing cabinet, dispensing a drug that allegedly killed a patient, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.

Becker’s says Vaught meant to give the patient a routine sedative, but instead injected vecuronium, which keeps patients still during surgery. The patient was then put into “a body-scanning machine” before staff realized the error; the drug apparently caused the patient to lose consciousness, suffer cardiac arrest and become partially brain dead, according to the publication. The patient reportedly died the next day.

According to a report in the British Journal of Anesthesia, medication errors occur in one out of every 130 to 300 surgeries. This is all the more reason to use Vigilant Software’s system for ensuring syringes in the OR are properly labeled with drug type and dosage information for each patient. Because labels are tied to EMR and released and printed when the anesthesiologist prepares to care for that person in the OR, it adds another layer of protection for patient safety.

For anesthesiologists, Vigilant Software brings peace of mind knowing extra safeguards are in place. And, as in Clements University Hospital’s case, it can benefit the hospital financially.

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