Barcode tracking is key for inventory management, but there are different barcode standards to capture when you set up a barcode tracking system in your facility. It’s important to understand the information that is being captured so that you can use the right system to process them.
In 2004 the FDA mandated that certain drugs be barcoded and contain the National Drug Code number for that product within the barcode. This system has successfully reduced errors and promoted patient safety. Unfortunately, these standards do not apply to all medical supplies.
Take a minute and look at several different products in your inventory room. You’ll most likely see a variety of different barcodes such as the traditional UPC code seen on retail items, or QR codes that are increasingly used for online marketing. These different barcodes contain varying amounts of information. Some are just simple product identifiers, while others contain more detailed information such as expiration date and lot number.
At the same time, many products have no barcode at all. This can be a special problem if you need to dispense and track specific drug doses. Fortunately, many inventory management systems let you print barcode labels for these items, and some even let you create your own barcode numbers.
Picking a System
Barcode tracking can provide useful item usage data that is useful for setting budgets, planning procurement, and managing staff item usage. While looking for inventory software, make sure to confirm which barcode standards are supported, and whether or not you can create custom barcodes. Also, be sure to ask if that system can capture the more detailed information contained in advanced barcodes. For example, the software should be able to record lot and expiration date, since these are crucial to effective inventory management. It should also be able to track items in real-time. Asking these questions up front can help avoid problems later. Advanced and easy-to-use inventory software with barcode tracking is now more affordable than ever and will be sure to pay for itself through lower costs and optimized supply spending. In today’s uncertain healthcare economy, it is critical that your practice or facility has good data so that it can stay on a path of healthy growth.