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Barcode scanners are basically all the same, Right? Actually, no.

Posted by Leslie Titus Bryant on Jul 4, 2018 10:39:44 PM
Leslie Titus Bryant
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Barcode scanners and healthcare go hand in hand. A lot like peas and carrots or Sonny and Cher. Supporting role aside, barcode scanning has the outstanding ability to make healthcare’s leading performance even better. How you might ask? By reducing if not eliminating ADEs (adverse drug events) increasing patient safety and eliminating transcription errors. Government mandates have made data capture solutions a necessary part of each healthcare facility’s operation. Aside from regulations, data capture solutions ensure patient safety through iterative checks and documentation. Unique identifiers (barcodes) are attached to patients, medications, equipment, and pretty much every item located in a healthcare setting for track and trace purposes. Additionally, cleaning, inventory, and hospitality crews use data capture solutions to track room cleanings and patient nutrition. Those little barcodes have a very big job.

Code Reader CR1500So what’s the point and why does it matter? It matters because each workflow may require various types of barcode scanners to keep things running efficiently, and despite what you may have been told not all barcode scanners are created equal.

Barcode scanners used for hospitals with inpatient bedside medication administration or emergency departments, for example, are scrutinized by infection control teams due to the scanner’s proximity to patients. Thus, these workflows require a completely sealed barcode scanner that can hold up to the constant cleaning and sanitizing throughout each shift. In contrast, inventory crews don’t necessitate the same sterilization standards but may need to handle multiple barcodes at high speeds all at the same time. Despite the obvious differences in these workflows, there are still three types of barcode scanners that can easily handle both of their tasks:

  1. Tethered (think attached to a PC)
  2. Bluetooth (like your favorite speaker) or
  3. Mobile units (probably pretty self-explanatory!)

Code Reader CR2600Tethered units are predominantly used in clinical workflows, like outpatient doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and such. Generally, tethered units are more budget friendly options, but their cords tend to get in the way when used in an inpatient setting.

Inpatient environments are more complex. With the IVs and the many cords from monitoring equipment, barriers can make access to scanning patient wrist bands and medications like a strange game of Jenga®. Bluetooth technologies have the competitive advantage here; a small, cordless form factor allows clinicians to freely move around a room and maneuver around a patient. Bluetooth barcode scanners offer clinicians freedom and increase patient interaction and satisfaction.

Code Reader CR4300NThe disadvantage to Bluetooth scanners is they’re dependent upon a connection to a computer. Enter mobility products; they are the scanner and computer in one device. They can be used in the same fashion as Bluetooth units but don’t require a PC connection. Mobility scanners run mobile versions of the EHR software application, and several of the mobile EHR applications have built-in barcode reading. Perfect, right? So why doesn’t everyone have one of these you might be asking yourself?

Product-to-environment matching is key when choosing a barcode reader.

Code Corporation has developed products to meet each of the three stated scenarios. The CR1500 tethered scanner is the industry leading product for clinical workflows. With its disinfectant-ready, IP54 rated housing and small form factor, clinicians can easily handle this scanner all day and rely on its performance.  The CR2600 happens to be a nurse favorite and is a best-in-class Bluetooth scanner; it is disinfectant ready and IP65 rated. Its small form factor combined with highly reliant Bluetooth technology is perfect for bedside applications.

Code’s two mobility products, CR4400 and CR4300N, offer flexibility for various workflows. Be it inpatient bedside or supporting roles like cleaning or hospitality crews, Code has built these units with disinfectant-ready plastics. The CR4400 houses the iPhone SE and iPod 6th generation. Its fully enclosed form factor with an external swappable battery is built to last. It fits perfectly in clinicians’ hands, is light weight, and has customers raving (personally I think it is because it doesn’t pull their scrubs down when it’s placed in their pocket, but that isn’t a tested theory!). The CR4300N’s open concept provides healthcare facilities a streamlined option for supporting roles that need to move from room to room.  

Remember the statement from above, “not all barcode scanners are created equal”? It’s true! Code barcode scanners continue to be favored in performance, form factor, and durability in healthcare. They not only scan faster but accurately decode when others can’t seem to even get started. The patented algorithm powering its decoding technology is consistently unmatched. What does that mean for your workflow? No matter the tiny size, curved surface, color, or damage you will get the best results from a Code barcode reader and keep your team moving.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all scanner. If you’re unsure where to start, gather information on your team’s workflows and Connect with Code. Expect More.

Topics: Healthcare, workflow solution, Data Capture, barcode scanning, barcode reading

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