Vaccine 2D Barcoding and Barcode Scanners

Since at least 2004, most vaccine vials and syringes have had barcodes on them.

A lot of information is stored in that little 2D barcode on our vaccines.
A lot of information is stored in that little 2D barcode on our vaccines.

At first they were linear barcodes (like a UPC code), but since 2016, vaccine products began using 2D barcoding.

Vaccine 2D Barcoding

Although you may have never heard about it, vaccine barcoding has a lot of benefits, including:

  • improved patient safety by reducing vaccine errors, including flagging when the wrong vaccine or an expired vaccine is scanned
  • improved documentation
  • improved efficiency, as using a vaccine barcode scanner is faster than manually entering vaccine lot numbers

And vaccine barcoding makes it easier for clinics to manage their vaccine inventory.

Vaccine Barcode Scanners

Which vaccine barcode scanner should you get?

“Scanners, once configured for the specific EHR/PMS/IIS set-up, can decode the 2D barcode into a “string of numbers”. Once this string of numbers is available, the configuration from the scanner to the health record translates the informati​​​​on into the appropriate data needed to document GTIN, lot number, and expiration date.”

AAP on Getting the Scanner to Work

That’s probably going to depend on which EHR that you use, as you want to make sure that your scanner works with your EHR.

Scanning a vaccine into our EMR.
Scanning a vaccine into our EMR.

Once you know which model to get, you can also decide if you want one that is corded or that connects via WiFi or Bluetooth. While it might seem most convenient to go with a cordless device, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can easily use the scanner on multiple computers. Each cordless device typically needs to be paired with a specific computer.

Are you using a vaccine barcode scanner yet?

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