2D barcodes—a faster, easier, error-free way to collect patient data

by Andrew Gould, Sales Representative

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Patient record keeping is one of the biggest hurdles facing healthcare organizations, with challenges such as storage limitations for endless paper files, processing errors when administrators type data in from paper forms, and the cost of paying administrators to manually enter data.

The good news is, 2D barcoding on patient forms eliminates all these issues while speeding up the process of processing patient data. But first, what is a 2D barcode and how does it work?

The barcode at a glance

Everyone’s seen the typical barcode on the back of a packaged item. The code consists of a series of black stripes of varying width. A barcode reading system can scan the code and instantly turn up product information with virtually 100% accuracy. But this simple barcode is considered one-dimensional. Scanners only read and compute the width of the bars. The height isn’t taken into consideration.

Enter the two-dimensional barcode

Two-dimensional barcodes have data encoded in the width and height of the symbols. This allows for far greater data storage; thousands of characters can squeeze inside a two-dimensional barcode the size of a postage stamp.

In addition, two-dimensional barcodes are more durable. One-dimensional barcodes can be rendered unreadable by merely inserting an additional bar at the beginning or end of the code. By contrast, two-dimensional barcodes are highly secure and can be read even when subjected to abuse. The symbols are usually still readable even after being torn, punctured, or marked over.

Using 2D barcodes for patient forms

Here’s how 2D barcoding works in a hospital setting for patient records.

With Ultraforms, a 2D barcode generation engine specifically designed to work with PDF fillable forms, your forms are set up to generate 2D barcodes that contain whatever information you want to capture.

That means that, after patients fill in data in the form and submit it, the digital form automatically generates a 2D barcode that can contain everything from the medical office location to the patient’s complete health background, including allergies, healthcare provider, date of last doctor visit, etc.

Then, all you do is scan the barcode to transfer the data into your document management system or electronic medical records software.

2D barcoding makes data processing of forms less expensive, more accurate and more efficient by reducing storage needs for paper files. It eliminates manual data entry and the OCR errors that come with the manual process. Plus, it free up time for everyone from doctors to admins.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of embedding 2D barcodes in forms with Ultraforms for healthcare, read this next.


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