Barcoding in the Medical Device Sector: Best Practices

Barcoding in the Medical Device Sector

Barcoding was invented for retail inventory management but soon found uses in a variety of other sectors including healthcare. There is no denying that barcoding had a huge impact on efficiency and more importantly, accuracy in healthcare. The use of barcodes and barcode scanner allows hospitals to keep track of things such as their fleet, medicines, equipment and just about everything else. 

Barcoding in the Medical Device Sector

The medical device sector has long used barcodes to enhance accuracy and patient safety. It also helps in making the system more efficient by reducing error and by allowing quick access to the required devices, equipment and drugs. The application of barcodes allows staff members to track all the goods and also make sure stock is always kept up to date. It also makes sure that a product is automatically removed from inventory when it is out of date.

Another big benefit of barcoding in the medical device sector is a significant reduction in counterfeit products which are a big problem in the industry. This is great for manufacturers as they can now quickly remove outdated products from their catalogues.

Benefits of Implementing Medical Device Barcode

There are several advantages of implementing medical device barcodes in the healthcare sector for manufacturers as well as end-users. Manufacturers in the sector are struggling with the plethora of counterfeit products encroaching into the market. With the proper implementation of medical device barcodes, it is easier for manufacturers to track counterfeit products and prevent them from entering the market. Here are a few more benefits of medical device barcode:

  • It helps in keeping proper track of medical devices
  • Barcoding allows proper distribution of equipment to the relevant departments as per their utilisation and discard rate
  • It ensures accuracy in tracking device information which helps in reducing errors when it comes to using of medical devices
  • It also helps in ensuring accurate billing which can create a lot of stress in the system if not done properly
  • It also makes sure that outdated devices are taken out on time and only the right devices are used for patients
  • It also ensures accurate tracking of maintenance and servicing records of various medical devices
  • It also helps in reducing the administrative workload related to the management of rented medical devices
  • Proper barcoding also helps in accurate and quick identification of various products

Medical device barcodes allow tracking of all the equipment. This information can then be uploaded to the cloud, which means the information can be made available to all the stakeholders in real-time. It also assists in improving inventory management which helps in reducing the chances of human error. With proper tracking and identification of medical devices, doctors and their team of staff don’t need to worry about the availability or accuracy of medical devices and they can focus more of their time on interacting with patients instead of spending time on administrative tasks.

Barcoding in the Medical Device Sector

Best Practices in Implementing Barcodes in Medical Devices

When it comes to implementing barcodes in medical devices, it is important to make sure that a well-thought-out process is adopted for implementation. Here are a few tips:

  • Decide on the standard to be implemented.
  • Implement a proper inventory tracking software
  • Ensure proper placement of barcodes for easier reading 
  • Make sure that the placement of the barcode doesn’t  hinder the use of devices
  • Barcodes should not affect the original functions of devices
  • It needs to be made sure that barcodes are always readable

Final Thoughts

Barcodes have been a part of the healthcare industry for several decades in various parts of the world. Currently, a trial is also going on in with the NHS in the UK to implement barcodes in medical devices across the board. In this system, a unique identification number or a UID is given to a particular device from a manufacturer. 

This unique identification number helps operators in keeping track of devices in hospitals as well as proper inventory control. More importantly, barcode solutions help with enhancing the safety of patients. For instance, barcode wristbands are used in hospitals to keep track of patient information which is constantly updated and can be readily made available to attending doctors or nurses.

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