How barcodes are transforming the healthcare industry in 2024

In healthcare, accuracy and efficiency are paramount. Yet despite major technological advancements, issues such as medication errors, patient safety risks, and operational inefficiencies persist in the sector. These challenges not only endanger individual patient outcomes but also burden entire healthcare systems. Innovative solutions are urgently needed to address them effectively.

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The importance of barcodes in healthcare 

Barcodes have become indispensable in the healthcare industry, enhancing both patient safety and operational efficiency. 

By automating the tracking of medical supplies and equipment, barcodes significantly reduce human error and minimize the time taken up by manual data entry tasks. Barcoded Medication Administration (BCMA), for instance, ensures that patients receive the correct medication and treatment, directly impacting patient care quality. 

Incorporating barcode technology into hospital medication and patient management systems is a strategic, cost-effective approach to addressing prevalent issues within healthcare settings. 

Consequently, the use of barcode scanning in healthcare is set to expand. A report by Grand View Research on 2D barcode readers highlights this trend, valuing their market in healthcare and other sectors at USD 7.32 billion in 2022. 

Moreover, the US market is projected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.0% from 2023 through 2030, underscoring the growing demand and potential for barcode technology.

Improving healthcare delivery is one of the technology’s most vital applications.

Enhanced asset management and patient safety with mobile barcode scanning

Adopting barcode technology in healthcare significantly improves asset management. In particular, it enables efficient tracking and management of medical equipment and supplies. This ensures essential resources are available when needed and are utilized efficiently, reducing waste and operational cost.

Patient safety is another crucial application of barcode technology. It enables accurate patient identification, ensuring that individuals receive the right medication, treatment, and care. This accuracy is critical in high-stakes environments like surgery, medication administration, and patient monitoring, where errors can have severe consequences.

Why implement mobile barcode technology in healthcare?

Implementing smartphone-based barcode scanning in healthcare significantly improves efficiency, safety, and data security. 

A Barcode Scanner SDK lets healthcare professionals use smartphones for accurate and secure scanning, allowing them to directly access patient information and medical data. This technology can be used to verify the “Five Rights” of medication administration – the right patient, medication, dose, route, and time – improving patient safety and care. 

At the same time, offline functionality and encryption ensure patient data privacy, complying with stringent regulations. 

Mobile barcode scanning is a showcase for the pivotal role of modern technology in patient care: This approach not only streamlines healthcare processes, but also reduces costs and errors.

Key barcodes used in healthcare

Several barcode symbologies have been adopted within the healthcare sector. Their unique features make each of them suitable for specific applications:

  • GS1 DataMatrix: The GS1 DataMatrix barcode is a preferred choice for pharmaceuticals due to its ability to store a lot of information in a small space, such as expiration dates, batch numbers, and serial numbers. Its compact size and high data capacity make it ideal for small item identification, crucial in a space-constrained environment like healthcare.
  • Code 128: Code 128 is widely used for patient identification bracelets and specimen labels. It can encode all 128 ASCII characters, making it suitable for various data types found in healthcare settings.
  • QR Codes: While QR codes are ubiquitous in consumer applications, they also have a place in healthcare. They are used for patient information, educational resources, and even directing patients and visitors within healthcare facilities. Because they are easy to scan on any smartphone, they are an accessible option for engaging with patients and staff alike.
  • Code 39: This barcode is one of the oldest alphanumeric symbologies. In healthcare, Code 39 is used for labeling assets, managing inventory, and other applications where a simple, reliable code is needed. It’s particularly valued for its ease of printing and its readability under diverse conditions.

Scanbot SDK – your trusted partner for mobile barcode scanning 

Adopting new technology, such as barcode scanning, is key to improving healthcare. 

This is demonstrated in our partnership with The Luke Commission, which operates clinics and mobile health outreach in Eswatini. After integrating the Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK within just two weeks, the organization was able to slash data entry times by 75%. 

The SDK allows The Luke Commission’s healthcare professionals to swiftly scan barcodes on ID cards, guaranteeing accurate patient data handling. Its speed and accuracy help ensure that the right resources are allocated to the right patients at the right time.

With the help of the SDK, The Luke Commission has significantly enhanced the accuracy and efficiency of its medical services in remote areas, ensuring both correct patient care and optimal use of medical resources.

Here’s what you can do next:

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