Choosing Bar Code Readers for Evolving Pharmaceutical Packaging
January 2011 - Vol. 8 No. 1 - Page #18

When choosing bar code readers for use in hospital pharmacy settings, usually the main decision criteria are ergonomics, the effect of the scanner type on workflow, and overall cost. However, given the rapid evolution of two-dimensional (2D) bar codes on pharmaceutical packaging, firmware considerations—or the ability to upgrade or replace certain software elements—should be included in any thorough evaluation of bar code scanners. Bar codes have evolved from the basic, linear type we are all familiar with to more sophisticated, 2D types, the popularity of which is owed to a significant increase in information capacity combined with fewer readability errors and decreased space constraints. Given these benefits, it is quite plausible that 2D symbols will become the prevalent symbols used on pharmaceuticals and related supplies. With this in mind, it is important to choose bar code readers with firmware that can support this evolution in packaging.

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