back to article Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

The NHS is stamping barcodes on breast implants, replacement hips and surgical tools in a bid to improve patient safety. The technology is intended to eliminate avoidable harm in hospitals, including errors such as patients being administered the wrong drugs and surgery being performed on the wrong part of the body, said the …

  1. Strahd Ivarius

    But how to know if someone has an implant?

    When you are in an emergency, trying to find the data in a humongous database can be too time consuming!

    So you need something on the patient itself...

    A NFC chip perhaps, or a tattoo (the above mentioned barcode for example).

    It comes with a side benefit: you will stop wondering if these huge boobs are natural or not!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      It's all fun and games until you need a hard on for the barcode tat on that penile implant.

      Thats the sad thing with age. I was once 9 inches and 3 wrinkles now im 3 inches and 9 wrinkles. Its probably the cold though. Lets go with that.

      As my old man used to say though its not the size that matters, its what you've got to bang it in with that counts.

      Presumably thats why we have a middle age obesity epidemic.

      Eight years of austerity has made viagra unaffordable.

      Side point and pro-tip, those free coffee stirrers at starbucks make excellent scaffolding for a lazy chap.

      1. Michael M

        Re: But how toSc know if someone has an implant?

        Inserting/removing the stirrer from the urethra can ... sting a bit. So I've heard.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: But how toSc know if someone has an implant?

          A Real Man uses popsicle sticks and duct tape*

          *it's the handyman's secret weapon.

          Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

          But ramming them up yer Jap's eye doesn't half hurt.

          Trump voter, clearly.

      3. Wzrd1

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        "Presumably thats why we have a middle age obesity epidemic."

        Yeah, that happens, it only gets in the way. :/

        "Eight years of austerity has made viagra unaffordable."

        Yeah, that costs me $40 per month, courtesy of my insurance company rationing off pleasure against my pain of paying $1500 a month, all US funds, of course.

        Fortunately, despite the lack of a scored tablet, a pill cutter manages matters nicely enough. I get 12 days a month for such things, leaving me with a bit of excess at our age.

        Oddly, I have a *lot* of friends toward the end of the month...

        "Side point and pro-tip, those free coffee stirrers at starbucks make excellent scaffolding for a lazy chap."

        Even UK sex shops sell the more appropriate and somewhat as effective technologies, without the sharp edges of said coffee stirrers.

        Just an observation, I used the technologies available to me until company health insurance kicked in.

        I still use my tongue as needed and keep the sex machine available, should an environmental emergency close our pharmacies.

        As I'm familiar with UK options in said field, as well as US and Australian options, I wonder at your comment. Worse, I'm one who has been so poor that the local church mouse donated crumbs to us.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      @Strahd Ivarius

      It comes with a side benefit: you will stop wondering if these huge boobs are natural or not!

      Just need a Smartphone with NFC. And a good reason for why your are going over her breasts with a Smartphone. One may get away with saying that you were only trying to get a better signal

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      The aim of this sort of tracking is to be able to identify exactly what item was used in an operation so that a few years later you can look at the record and know which implant was used and from there track the batch that the implant came from - you need to do this because if there's a recall, the doctor needs to know, not that the patient had a hip implant, but if the implant is from the recalled batch.

      Barcodes are used because they can be scanned and verified, avoiding transposition errors that occur when humans write down serial numbers or doctors scribble.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        Will Version 1.1 come with a humour implant?

      2. Wzrd1

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        "The aim of this sort of tracking is to be able to identify exactly what item was used in an operation so that a few years later you can look at the record and know which implant was used and from there track the batch that the implant came from - you need to do this because if there's a recall, the doctor needs to know, not that the patient had a hip implant, but if the implant is from the recalled batch."

        As one who has an implant with an easily observable serial number, seriously, grow a sense of humor.

        Eventually, I'll require bone screws, which would have serial numbers and now a bar code.

        We, the gimps, quite well understand what's at stake.

        But, I also know, my IOL gave me X-rated vision.

        If the conservatives want that recalled, there'll be a full scale war. ;)

      3. Alan Hope

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        We know all this anyway. Systems have been in place for years.

      4. enormous c word

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        This is a good idea, don't let technology get in the way of it's success.

        The RAF solved this with the LITs project 10 years ago, all aeroplane parts are recorded, they know where every piece is and they don't need NFC to do that. Recalls can be targeted to only those assemblies that require it, preventative maintenance can be performed (just before) the point of failure etc. The NHS could learn a lot from the experiences gathered in this project.

        But what will happen no doubt is that the NHS will consider its requirements to be so unique and special that it will thumb its nose at existing solutions and embark upon one of its typically over-ambitious projects and piss £M's away on an overly-complex / poorly-considered IT projects that is destined for failure instead of spending it on hard-working hospital administrators exorbitant salaries.

        1. Red Bren

          Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

          @enormous c word

          "But what will happen no doubt is that the Government will consider NHS requirements to be so unique and special that it will thumb its nose at existing solutions and embark upon one of its typically pocket-lining projects and steal £M's away on an overly-complex / poorly-considered IT projects run by private companies that they are major shareholders in."

          FTFY

      5. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        My implants have a serial number that I have several printed copies off, also recorded in a database. No writing required. Also comes with barcode and QR code, something humans are also poor at reproducing ;)

        Not sure how useful the bar code being on the things would be, it's also a bitch to engrave titanium.

        Pro tip, don't get kicked in the face. Even the best replacement teeth are worse and waaay more hassle than the originals.

    4. BugabooSue
      Flame

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      @Strahd Ivarius

      A good idea, until you need an MRI and the chip melts into an incandescent blob, and/or tries to leave the body in a great hurry!

      Also - privacy implications...

      (Icon - I nearly was nearly a victim of an internal short-circuit last year when an X-ray scan found an *undocumented* titanium wire 'implant' from emergency surgery following a near-fatal RTA twenty years ago! The MRI was cancelled to stop this from happening)

      Susi xx

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        I had an MRI and told them about my Titanium post for a tooth implant and they said "Meh".

        I didn't even feel a slight pull.

        Mind you, it was a knee MRI, quite a long way from the head.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

          I had an MRI and told them about my Titanium post for a tooth implant and they said "Meh".

          Titanium is not a problem for MRI scans. I have titanium strips and screws in one arm (as a result of discovering that velocity and gravity don't always mix very well) and never had any problems.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

            "(as a result of discovering that velocity and gravity don't always mix very well)"

            I was under the impression that the problem was precisely that velocity and gravity mix very well indeed. As do all of the bits of your body afterwards.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Martin Summers Silver badge

              Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

              I absolutely crapped myself worrying my titanium rod in my leg would be ripped out during an MRI I had, on the leg itself. They weren't bothered about it but it was still an unpleasant thought.

              1. phuzz Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

                MRI machines can be dangerous if you have bits of metal inside you for two reasons.

                The obvious one is that if you have iron/steel/ferrous metal inside you, then it will do it's best to go with the magnetic field, and soon it will not be inside you any more. This is not usually a problem.

                The other problem is that MRI machines dump energy in the form of radio waves into the sample (ie you), in order to flip polarised atoms around. If you have metal inside you, it might end up acting as an antenna, and heating up. This is more localised, so it's generally not a problem, but this is why typically you'll receive an X-ray just to check what's inside you, before you're allowed in the MRI machine.

            2. Wzrd1

              Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

              "But I imagine that, say, titanium wire bound round a femur to hold it together could just conceivably form a multi-turn coil, in which case it might be dangerous due to circulating current in a rather high resistance metal."

              Only if you have some magical overriding law of physics that surrounds you and turns titanium into a ferromagnetic metal.

              I anticipate that to occur shortly after proton decay of the universe, if ever.

              1. ChrisBedford

                Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

                @ Wzrd1:-

                "But I imagine that, say, titanium wire bound round a femur to hold it together could just conceivably form a multi-turn coil, in which case it might be dangerous due to circulating current in a rather high resistance metal."

                Only if you have some magical overriding law of physics that surrounds you and turns titanium into a ferromagnetic metal.

                Last I heard copper wasn't ferromagnetic. However current is induced in copper wire loops. So maybe your theory needs re-thinking.

                1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                  Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

                  Last I heard copper wasn't ferromagnetic. However current is induced in copper wire loops. So maybe your theory needs re-thinking.

                  I deleted my original post because on reading the thread I realised that my suspicion had already been confirmed by someone with actual experience, and I don't like to try to steal other people's thunder. It would seem that Wzrd1 missed Maxwell's equations on his way to whatever post he currently holds.

                  In a previous incarnation, we would sometimes use the RF induction heater to re-getter soft valves. The reason, I imagine, that hip joints and the like are not a problem is that they have enough mass (and conductivity) not to get hot from a rapidly oscillating magnetic field. A thin wire loop has a high resistance, and so since P = RI2, it gets a lot hotter.

              2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

                Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

                >>"But I imagine that, say, titanium wire bound round a femur to hold it together could just conceivably form a multi-turn coil, in which case it might be dangerous due to circulating current in a rather high resistance metal."

                >Only if you have some magical overriding law of physics that surrounds you and turns titanium into a ferromagnetic metal.

                The "magical overriding law of physics" is known as Lenz's law. You'll get eddy currents in a titanium loop. (Titanium's resistance is on a par with the iron used in transformer cores.)

        2. BugabooSue

          Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

          @cambsukguy

          Yup. I understand that is a normal response - as long as it is all one solid lump, and not directly in the highest concentration of the field, all is usually OK.

          Mine however is a wire loop of about 1cm diameter that was used to keep a couple of fractured parts of my skull together. The ends are twisted together - so it's effectively a 'shorted-turn'. This was also a head MRI in the area of the wire.

          Was told it would by the machine technician that it would have been, "Quite an interesting experience for me..." if the MRI had gone ahead.

          (A'head'? Geddit? <sheesh> Tough crowd) ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

            Mine however is a wire loop of about 1cm diameter that was used to keep a couple of fractured parts of my skull together. The ends are twisted together - so it's effectively a 'shorted-turn'. This was also a head MRI in the area of the wire.

            Christ - they effectively gave you a built-in induction loop. Any problems with nearby magnetic fields? Do you bleep at airports too?

            Yes, MRI would have been "interesting", but I suspect far from pleasant. I'm glad for you that they detected this ahead of time, although I'd be curious to know how they knew.

      2. picturethis
        Thumb Up

        Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

        Probably wouldn't have been a problem - as long as it's pure titanium which is non-ferrous (i.e. non-magnetic). I have a titanium implant (for a tooth) along with a stainless-steel hardware screw for the crown (also non-magnetic) that shouldn't be problems for MRI machines either. (I hope).

    5. Wzrd1

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      "A NFC chip perhaps, or a tattoo (the above mentioned barcode for example)."

      How interesting! I have a wallet card with my IOL's serial number and precise emplacement information on it.

      Now, I need a tattoo? Want to imprint my DNA as well?

      Small hint, from a senior IT type, technical. Database searches take milliseconds at worst, typically, microseconds.

      Go away son, you bother me as a waste of both sperm and egg.

    6. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      So just for once we can say that the NHS is literally trying to avoid a TITSUP? C'mon El Reg, you should have been on the ball with this one!

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      As someone who works in the medical device industry - this story does perhaps need a bit more in depth information than it offers now...

      First...

      <quote>

      The NHS is stamping barcodes on breast implants, replacement hips and surgical tools in a bid to improve patient safety.

      [...]

      It is hoped to avoid future scandals such as the faulty Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) silicone breast implants scare in 2010, in which fraudulently manufactured silicone gel implants affected 50,000 British women.

      [...]

      By using barcodes, anything that might develop a fault years later, for example a screw used in a knee operation or breast implant, can be traced, said the Department of Health in a press release.

      </quote>

      Sorry to say this, but this statement is absolute rubbish. The bar codes on itself would have solved nothing. The issue with the PIP implants in short was the fact that the French producer used industrial, in stead of medical grade silicone in its manufacturing process. Surprisingly, they hadn't done this when they offered the implants for registration (Medical Directive 93/42/ECC). However, the Notified Body, the regulatory (commercial) organisation that inspects and approves these registrations (in the PIP case TÜV) should have done their "regulatory-checks-of-manufacturing-facilities-after-approving-implant" quality inspecting job right. Without going into too much detail here, QA is a very large, if not an all determining factor in the regulatory process and subsequential approval (CE mark approval). In the end, TÜV didn't, thus PIP could produce dodgy boob implants. Nothing that bar codes could have changed there.

      Furthermore, the bar codes on implants might improve safety, although one could argue that the bar/ QR codes on the packages currently also (can) do that. One should perhaps also consider the fact that an alternative (main) reason might be, not the safety of the patient, but the (financial) risk management of the NHS itself. This becomes perhaps most clear if one considers the MoH statement more carefully. First, bar codes have nothing to do with keeping a good record of who received what when. Practice however shows that this at present day is rubbish to none existent. Second, one might wonder why the MoH is so concerned about this. Concerns about the health of the population in general? Documentation helpful for later claim cases?

      Perhaps also helpful in this discussion (and appealing to techies): several medical device manufacturers have tried to get approval for devices (e.g. syringes, surgical equipment) with RFID chips in them. Regulators have long, continuously and consistently, refused approval for these. Some reason quoted: competition legislation, customer lock-in, preventing use other than pre-programmed (e.g. no reuse of syringes because injection equipment refuses already used ones, documenting reuse of surgical materials registered as disposable originally), and thus price increase. Although honesty forces me to agree at some level, it is also surprising that these initiatives were always killed immediately and completely. After all, exploring solutions should consider all options.

      <quote>

      It also also expected to provide a more effective means of managing medical stocks and saving staff time searching for items.

      The government claims the project could save £1bn across the NHS over seven years.

      </quote>

      But... but... it is all about patient safety!

      And... if you could save £ 1bn, I can stop wondering how you go about your affairs now. Like I already mentioned, packaging of medical devices is a separate item in the medical device regulatory approval process. Change the package, and you have to resubmit your approval/ Technical File for the regulatory authorities to agree on your changes. So OR the NHS stores everything in sheds and bottom drawers, OR this (again) is more about financial risk avoidance, OR this number appeared magically out of a body orifice.

      <quote>

      Tim Wells, consultant cardiologist at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Knowledge is power - not only does this provide us with a level of data and insight that can be used to better challenge clinical practice and variation, helping us to reduce inefficiencies and improve patient experience and outcomes - more importantly it ultimately helps to safeguard our patients from avoidable harm.

      "In the event of a product recall, we can now easily and quickly track an affected product to the right patient."

      </quote>

      Knowledge is power... Hummm... Ignorance is Strength

      Again, this has nothing to do with bar codes on products, and is already, with no limitation, possible in the current situation. I can't shake the feeling that these kind of statements show striking similarities with the “more-cameras-more-safety” discussion. Although more cameras can indeed help in solving crime, their efficacy in preventing crime is questionable. So, how do bar codes “ improve patient experience and outcomes […] safeguard our patients from avoidable harm.” First, if havoc has already happened, it can only help in fixing and finger-pointing. And perhaps more importantly, as mentioned before, this is all already possible, but does perhaps have more to do with how things are now done in the NHS.

      Without sliding off into a complete, vein-popping rant (and at the risk of sounding unreasonably silly) I can only say that, if somebody is interested in some examples of the excellent record-keeping skills of physicians (including cardiologists) I'm more than happy to share.

      Err... Did we change coffee brands...?

    8. Michael Thibault

      Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

      >a tattoo

      Logistics! Where, exactly? Matching L and R? What effects, if any, could such have on children before they're weaned? After? All of a piece, in a strange way. The details...

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    It will stop boobs ...

    resulting from all sorts of errors - I suppose.

    1. monty75

      Re: It will stop boobs ...

      Come on, people. BRA-codes! They're BRA-codes!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It will stop boobs ...

        Come on, people. BRA-codes! They're BRA-codes!

        I like it. Barcodes for dyslexics :).

        I wonder if there wasn't a way to impel a dot pattern on metal parts - that way, a sufficiently detailed scan could still read dot-matrix style lettering (easier to implement in existing systems than binary) but it would be MRI safe as opposed to anything RFID based.

        Not quite sure how this would work with breast implants, though.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: It will stop boobs ...

          You mean like the 2D bar codes marked on most high-value integrated circuits?

          This will be Datamatrix or Code 1.

          Datamatrix was designed for this purpose, it is easy to print extremely small - ICs generally use this when they are too small to be labelled with legible text.

          Code 1 is ancient, not very good, hard to print small - and widely used in healthcare.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three points

    The government claims the project could save £1bn across the NHS over seven years.

    That would be a first saving money within the NHS. (2015/2016 budget £116 billion)

    ... saving staff time searching for items.

    if the staff can't find their proverbial with their two hands, how they going to find a body part?

    "In the event of a product recall, we can now easily and quickly track an affected product to the right patient."

    So how's that going to work on an internal implant then?

    1. waldo kitty
      Facepalm

      Re: Three points

      i gotta ask...

      if the staff can't find their proverbial with their two hands, how they going to find a body part?

      their proverbial isn't a body part? ;)

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'surgery on the wrong part of the body'

    These boobs were meant for walking?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      These boobs were meant for walking?

      I can see the advertising already: "Putting the bounce back in your step" ..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The road to hell .....

    Putting NFC chips in breast implants, is the sort of idea that leads to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

    OTOH, men look at bosoms, so why not talk to them? But I guess we don't expect them to answer......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The road to hell .....

      Now that you've brought it up, I'm sure Amazon is on it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The road to hell .....

      Putting NFC chips in breast implants, is the sort of idea that leads to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

      It could make for a whole different class of payment terminals, though, although I suspect we'd end up with breast clash for London Underground users :).

      1. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Stop

        The sort of idea that leads to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

        Milk that tastes of something not quite like tea ... Share and enjoy ...

        NOW I NEED MIND BLEACH.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The sort of idea that leads to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

          I think you've pretty much summarised 2016 for me: worthy of mind bleach. Ugh.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    Implants to have ID numbers on them.

    I thought this was SOP for medical bits.

    Seriously. It's taken till 2016 for the NHS to work this out?

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: Implants to have ID numbers on them.

      In the US, this has been standard practice for years. And not just for implants, but for everything in the operating theatre right down to swabs. Everything is scanned in and then scanned out - that way you can be sure you haven't left something inside the patient that shouldn't be there.

      1. swschrad

        on the other hand....

        I had an acquaintance whose wife needed two knee implants. doctors put them on the wrong sides.

        so you can keep trying to make things foolproof, but there will always evolve a better fool.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: on the other hand....

          I thought that when they did two things they did them one side at a time.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: on the other hand....

          Pffft. I had "doctors" that couldn't distinguish between a broken clavicle and a broken ankle.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Implants to have ID numbers on them.

      I know for several years stents and artificial lens have serial numbers and a card with the serial number is given to the patient as well as documented in the states.

  7. SVV Silver badge

    Barcodes?

    What year is this? Will they have to cut people open and use a hand held laser scanner to read them?

    Surely RFID chips are the way to go. Plus you could then wave your tits over the scanner to pay for your shoppinjg and use them instaed of an Oyster card once they had been registered with all the payment services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barcodes?

      Surely RFID chips are the way to go

      One MRI scan and all those wonderful chips will be toast - and so may be parts of the patient they were fitted to. It's one of the things that helps prevent the idea of implanted ID chips become a reality, so it's not all bad..

      1. Anon27

        Re: Barcodes?

        One MRI scan and all those wonderful chips will be toast

        Because of my stimulator back implant I'm not able to have a MRI anyway

  8. Swiss Anton

    This could lead to an awkward moment at the supermarket self service checkout,

    "Unexpected item in bagging area, please remove item"

    1. Clockworkseer

      Surely that should be "unexpected funbag in item area?"

      1. Swiss Anton

        ..., and don't call me Shirley.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what they are using to "print" the barcodes while maintaining sterility and ensuring that the method does not result in premature degradation, laser etching could work for metal parts, but breast implants ???

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a matter of time...

    If they do start using NFC then I'll bet it's only a matter of time before we get to read "reliable" study results which tell us things like: "Women with a breast implant buy a lot more lingerie than women without".

    No, that's not big brother, that's your honest marketing research. Honest! ;)

    1. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Just a matter of time...

      I lack a personal study cohort large enough to draw reliable conclusions, but here's a thought. Lingerie is often used to hide less-attractive aspects of the wearer while accenting good ones. A smoking hot athletic babe will need no sauce to make her tasty. An average looking hausfrau with 30 extra pounds will be more likely to use lingerie, having more to hide or distract from. So having gotten a bosom expansion and presumably feeling more alluring, might such a woman be LESS likely to wear lingerie?

      Just speculating. We won't know for sure until some hard science is done to give a firm grasp of the issues.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @Tikimon -- Re: Just a matter of time...

        I'll assume the hard science will also require some hands-on inspection and testing? Where do I sign up as a researcher?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a matter of time...

        We won't know for sure until some hard science is done to give a firm grasp of the issues.

        Unfortunately this definitely counts as soft science, since it's psychology, which means a big sample set is required. (Viagra research is biochemistry so it's hard science.) The only fault, though, that I see in your logic is that the woman with the highish BMI might be the one least likely to want the implant, as fat tends to get deposited in more than one place.

        A great deal of research is obviously needed. If someone else will volunteer to do the statistics I will volunteer to help with the field study.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    I assume the relevant item will be scanned prior to installing/inserting into the patient and the information will be tied to the patient, clearly the best way to do this to avoid the info lag between the operating theatre and the hospital office drone and any consequent mistakes, is to have a patient bar code tattooed on the back of all patients necks. In that way patient and prosthetic can be scanned at the moment of insertion.

    I am sure such a scheme would get backing from the Prime Minister who no doubt would ensure funds were available to carry out such a scheme.

    I think my idea would help to mitigate hospital boobs.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Stop That!

      Don't you think they have enough such ideas of their own with out giving them more?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I assume the relevant item will be scanned prior to installing/inserting into the patient "

      Not forgetting, of course, the £1B it will cost to invent, develop and have certified a special bar-code scanner (using a specially created bar-code, naturally) because no one has ever done this before as far as the NHYS knows. No doubt Crapita will have to create a special NHS-wide database system for it to0, but that's should only cost £500,000 (at least at the initial spec.)

      1. PNGuinn Silver badge

        @ John Brown (no title)

        ... should only cost £500,000 (at least at the initial spec.)

        ... should only cost £500,000 (at least FOR the initial spec.)

        There - FIFY. Cheap at the price.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @ John Brown (no title)

          "There - FIFY. Cheap at the price."

          Not sure who downvted you or why, but you spot on. The consultation documents and initial specs will probably cost that much :-)

  12. Chozo
    Joke

    It's no use shouting tonsillectomy sir, my screen says testicle removal.

  13. moiety

    That's all very well, but given hospital staff's notorious lack of prophylactic measures when it comes to internet security what happens when -and it's probably a when not an if- the database gets hacked/encrypted?

    Yeah I know...better things to do and all that.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    "The government claims the project could save £1bn across the NHS over seven years."

    I'd like to see the reasoning & maths that are supposed to back this claim.

    (Currently spending (post)cristmas time with the extended family, I could do with a laugh by now.)

  15. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    QC Inspector Job

    For breast implants. Just give me the badge and the van and I'll stop by to do the follow-ups.

    "It's just a bar code scanner, ma'am. It just looks like a camera."

    Paris, because aren't you the third inspector this week?

  16. dvd

    I remember a doctor saying publicly that if you need surgery on one side of the body, to mark the side with the procedure yourself and to write something along the lines of 'not this side' all over the other side.

    1. Tikimon Silver badge

      X marks the spot

      They asked me to verify which side I was having the surgery done, then actually drew target zones on me. I wanted them to write "Here Be Dragons" on the other side, but nooooooo.

      "Front Toward Enemy" didn't fly either. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymore_mine

  17. TRT Silver badge

    How to read the barcode...

    Braille, obviously.

  18. TheProf
    Facepalm

    Scandal

    OK barcode everything but how will that stop something like the Poly Implant Prothèse scandal happening? This company used unapproved (and dangerous) materials for years. Maybe someone should be checking that products are fit for purpose before cutting people open.

  19. herman Silver badge

    Tinfoil Bra

    Barcodes on implants are a huge security and privacy problem. Now your girlfriend can be tracked by her implants unless she wears a tinfoil bra and what can possibly be more offputting than a tinfoil bra?

  20. Medical Cynic

    Press release reliability

    It seems to me that, reading between the lines of a press release no doubt written by someone without any knowledge, that they are talking about bar-coding the packaging rather than the implant itself. I can't imagine a barcode on a small orthopaedic screw being a)possible or b) readable without major surgery. If the package is barcoded, then all the bits used in a particular procedure in a particular patient can be reliably recorded in a central database for such implants.

    Then all you need to know is the patient ID and the procedure concerned.

    Re MRI, inductance can cause problems in addition to heating. Mainly neurostimulation. At high field strengths, this can be a direct effect on the nerves themselves, causing tingling sensations. At all filed strengths, lengths of wire close to nervous tissue will have much stronger effects.

    An example would be retained pacemaker wires. Sometimes when removing a pacemaker [eg temporary pacing no longer required] the wire or bits of wire break off and are left in situ. These are unlikely to cause problems in normal life, but in an MRI scanner, current will be induced, this in a wire that is deliberately positioned to link to the heart's conductive sysyet. The result is the scanner pacing the heart at the repetition rate of whatever sequence is running - which is generally far in excess of its maker's safe limits!

    [retired radiologist]

  21. krza

    The Mark of the Breast

    See title

  22. Tim Soldiers

    For any of you guys & girls, who want actually gain a little knowledge of what is being implemented, before making asinine comments.

    There a nice little video here ......

    www.gs1uk.org/our-industries/healthcare

    and a useful article here.........

    www.digitalhealth.net/features/43725/raising-the-barcode

    TLDR ... For any John Smiths or Muhammed Shahs out there, this will be a real life saver

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