Barcodes in Healthcare: Risky Business?

Evolution of the Barcode
What started out as a mechanism for inventory control in the grocery industry has evolved into a technology essential for tracking just about every product across all industries. This technology is the barcode, and it’s not only on all of our products, but is a part of access control systems, identification cards, boarding passes and so much more. However, should we be concerned by this? Are we using something beyond what it was intended for?

Barcodes in Healthcare
In the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, barcodes are used to track the source, batch and date, in addition to validating the pharmaceuticals. Aside from the healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chain, barcodes are used in hospitals, at the bedside, ensuring patients are administered the proper drugs and doses.

Barcode Danger
If a barcode doesn’t function properly at the grocery store, the clerk can simply look up the price. But, if a barcode doesn’t function correctly in a hospital setting, people’s lives could be at risk. As barcodes have expanded into different applications, there’s a certain amount of risk associated with using them.

Barcode Verification
Currently, congress is exploring new FDA regulations that will ad specifications for using barcodes in healthcare settings in order to mandate how drugs are tracked and validated.

In the mean time, its important for companies to verify their barcodes based off of GS1 standards in order to minimize risk and prevent any barcode-related errors.