If you have checked in to a healthcare facility, you probably have been given a wristband. Beside your name, patient number, date of birth, and perhaps your physicians name, is a black and white checkered box? What’s that all about?
Have you shopped for plants and there is another black and white box you can scan with your phone to learn more about the plant’s characteristics and care instructions?
They are both barcodes; two dimensional (2D) barcodes to be exact. It is much like the traditional linear barcode we are used to seeing in our every day lives, but there are some differences.
So What’s The Right One?
The answer: It all depends on your application!
Besides the look, the 2D allows for more characters to be encoded in less space. the amount of data you can encode in the barcode, especially in limited space applications. For instance, in retail, you’re probably familiar with the traditional linear barcode, the black and white striped bars, that is scanned at the register, and linked to a database containing additional information such as price, stock number and description.
The 2D barcode allows for more characters (or information) in smaller spaces to travel with the item which may or may not be related back to a database depending on the application.
To view more on these barcodes, visit “Which Barcode?” on Labeling News.
In the example of the wristband, typically found in healthcare situations, the 2D barcode is being quickly adopted and used to provide important information about the patient at the point of care as well as compliance with industry guidelines. By providing two or more patient identifiers when drawing blood, administering medications, or testing, the provider is in compliance as well as ensuring patient safety.
The manufacturing industry, particularly electronic, are using the 2D barcode in material tracking, receiving, shipping, inventory control, and QC applications. By using the 2D, the information about the item is available by scanning the code, even when access to a database is unavailable, such as in the field or after the product ships.
Do you supply goods to the Department of Defense? If so, you most like need to comply with MIL-STD-130, the Unique Identification (UID) on your labeling. Again, you’ll see the 2D barcode.
Are you using 2D barcodes? Would you like to see how 2D barcodes can expand your barcode power? Do you need to comply with DoD MIL-STD-130 UID requirement? Leave your comments or give us a call.