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bnawrot

Laser barcode scanner vs 2D image reader

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We're wondering what other transfusion services are using for barcoding blood bag labels and specimen labels around the country.  We scan blood center ISBT 128 labeled blood bags and code 39 and code 128 barcoded specimens using laser barcode scanners. We also manage tissue products but with the myriad of barcodes on tissue products, we generate new labels that print the lot#, sublot and prod in code128 for ease of dispensing.  Every 3-4 years we need to order more scanners to replace those that get dropped and no longer work.  We are considering 2D image readers in the transfusion services.  Other lab departments are moving to the image readers.  For ease of support our LIS department would like for us to use the image readers.  We trialed some image readers and staff feel they are not as quick as barcode laser scanners, especially when workload is heavy.  It's been my experience as well, the scanning has to be more precise since it can pick up other nearby barcodes on product labels more easily.  But if we ever have the need to read datamatrix, we'd need the image readers.   I've seen that ICCBBA has datamatrix barcode examples but our blood supplier has said there is nothing in the works for using datamatrix symbologies.  Reagents have the 2D barcode.  

What has been your experience with image readers?  Are you using them?  Do you feel the advantages of barcode scanners (speed, knowing exactly what you're reading) still warrant their use over image readers that have future potential for decoding 2D symbologies.  I suppose having both at designated workstations is also an option for when we'd need to have 2D decoding capabilities.

Thank you in advance for your feedback,

Bill

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Hi bnawrot:  We are currently supplying many blood collection and transfusion services facilities scanners to use in conjunction with our HemaTrax on-demand labeling systems, plus many other laboratory operations.  In almost every case they are choosing an imager (Zebra/Motorola LS-2208).  It has an aiming light for accuracy on blood bank labels with multiple bar codes (ISBT 128).  It has proven both fast and reliable.  If you need to concatenate the LS-2208 can do this.  The ICCBBA is now considering the approval of 2-D DataMatrix so you can expect to see further use of 2-D and thus when buying new scanners we would recommend going with an imager.  You can see more or request a demo on our web site: www.digi-trax.com or reply to www.info@digi-trax.com.

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