How Computer Based Label Printer Software Works
Databases are becoming the heart of the modern business, finance and medical systems. Having a clear way of keeping track of information helps prevent mistakes and could be the key of reducing costs or improving processes.
Inspired by the inventory stocks of large retail stores, the use of barcode has become standard practice in other areas that use large amounts of physical items, such as libraries, hospitals and court-rooms.
These 70’s inventions were initially designed for retail stores and are based on binary coding of information. Nowadays, barcodes are used on a large scale and the need to produce them on the spot has risen. For some applications codes are bought as auto-adhesive labels, while some organizations design and print their own using just a computer. A simple explanation of how they work could be:
“Each digit in the product number is given the same amount of horizontal space: exactly 7 units. Then, to represent any of the numbers from zero through nine, we simply color those seven units with a different pattern of black and white stripes. Scanners detect sequences of black and white stripes, but convert them directly into decimal numbers, giving a decimal number as their output.”
It becomes clear that you also need a scanner to make full use of them, but even a smartphone with a reasonable camera would do.
As the technology in our pockets progressed, so did the need to include more information in the codes we used on products. This led to the creation starting from 1997 and continuing to this day of 2-dimensional codes, named QR codes. A web-site that also allows the free generation of QR codes describes the difference between barcodes and the new ones:
“The difference between UPC barcodes and QR codes is that QR codes hold information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, while UPC barcodes only hold information only in the horizontal direction. This means that QR codes can hold a lot more information. Approximately 350 times more information.”
Thus, QR codes can be used to keep track of more complex information such as all the characteristics of a patient (name, age, blood type, chronically ill). Putting such info on a sticker on the side of the bed and providing personnel with an app to read it compatible with their smartphone could mean the difference between life and death as it could prevent wrong medication administration.
Printing and Using Pouch Printers and Medical Labelers
There are numerous ways to generate these codes that could be printed on any material of our choice. In a medical environment the most suitable choice would be a healthcare approved material such as Doranix’s Tyvek Tags, a durable solution for a high-standard environment.
Printing on such a medium can be easily done via inkjet commercial equipments or flexography, keeping in mind that depending on the use of the tag there might be special attention required when selecting the ink, to be non-toxic.
Generating the information that goes on these tags can be easily done in house by any intern or office assistant with basic computer skills as there are numerous solutions available, both free and paid, depending on the degree of sophistication required. For example, BarTender is software solution that offers a wide range of tools:
“BarTender provides an intuitive, modern and straightforward interface and a rich choice of tools for your barcode and QR codes business needs. With more than 400 pre-formatted and ready-to-use barcode components – quite every kind of barcode you may wish, BarTender is certified by GS1. Linear and 2D barcodes, RFID tags and QR codes are included in the package.”
Keeping track of people, stock, samples or inventory has never been easier, as both generating the info and reading it can be done with any smartphone or tablet.
Printers like Doranix’s are one example of this.