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J2 Adapts Barcode Scanning Technology to Track COVID-19 Ventilators

CareScan+ application on phone
Photo credit: North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

Editor’s note: Congratulations to the Carescan+ team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust for winning the Health Tech Leaders award for Supporting Healthcare Teams in recognition of their work on this application! 

Healthcare organizations around the world have adapted processes and technologies to meet the new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including how they monitor supplies. In the United Kingdom, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust immediately identified the obstacle of tracking the use and location of non-invasive ventilators. Leaders at the Trust realized they could repurpose the existing solution that they developed with J2 Interactive, CareScan+.

CareScan+ and COVID-19

CareScan+ enables healthcare workers to increase efficiencies and improve the quality and safety of care by scanning barcodes on patient wristbands and medical devices. After North Tees identified the need to track non-invasive ventilators, they collaborated with J2 to adapt the application—all within a week. The care team had already assigned each portable ventilator a unique barcode that staff could scan every time the machine was allocated to a patient, removed for cleaning or maintenance, or put back in storage. Now, whenever hospital staff requires the device, they have access to a simple, online dashboard that shows the location and usage of every ventilator in the hospital.

While other barcode scanning solutions developed for the NHS and elsewhere are bolted onto existing software designed for an altogether different purpose, J2 explicitly developed CareScan+ to facilitate the barcode capture process and the workflows related to it. The app is agile and flexible enough to expand, scale, and be applied to many workflows, allowing it to address the needs that can arise during the global pandemic.

How the Application Works

Using a small handheld scanner no larger than a smartphone, a clinician first enters their credentials, then scans the barcode on their badge. Once the Trusts’ Active Directory authorizes them, they can scan the next item used in the care event, such as a patient wristband, another staff member’s badge, or medical product.

The app walks the user through various verification and advisory screens to select the right medical procedure, confirm the patient’s information and consent, and view any important information about the product, including recalls or expiration dates. The app records each scan, allowing for further querying of what was involved in the care event.

Unexpected obstacles can occur while someone is doing a scan—a needle dropped on the floor, an IV bag split open, a nurse called away to an emergency mid-procedure, etc. To manage these unforeseen events, J2 built the application to time out when a user is idle, enabling new users to pick up a task where another has left off, and allow the recording of wasted products.

What’s Next?

CareScan+ was built with flexibility and scalability in mind. Therefore, it can be used throughout the Trust and in other organizations to track devices and equipment during the pandemic and beyond. As new use cases arise, the software allows for new workflows to be quickly designed and deployed to support hospitals, care teams, and the patients who depend on them.

About North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is an integrated hospital and community services healthcare organization serving around 400,000 people in Hartlepool, Stockton, and parts of County Durham.

Services are primarily offered from the University Hospital of North Tees (Stockton-on-Tees) and University Hospital of Hartlepool, with support from a wide range of community-based services.

In 2018 the Trust was rated “good” from the independent health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with elements of our A&E services being rated “Outstanding.”


J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm that specializes in customized solutions for healthcare and life sciences.

To speak with our team about how we can help your organization’s COVID-19 response plan, please get in touch with us.

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J2 Interactive

J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm that specializes in customized solutions for healthcare and life sciences.