Businesses and organizations in a wide range of industries depend on barcode scanners as a critical piece of equipment. This is true for the healthcare segment as well. These tools are essential for managing inventory and tracking supplies, product identification, simplifying checkout procedures, and other tasks since they swiftly gather data from barcodes and QR codes.
However, with a ton of barcode scanners from various brands readily available in the market, choosing the best one for your business can be confusing. There are a lot of things that a business, particularly those in the healthcare segment, has to consider. So, this buying guide goes over a number of important factors you should take into account when choosing a barcode scanner.
1. Start by deciding the purpose
As a business that supplies or manufactures products for healthcare facilities or if your company is a hospital itself, you must decide what the barcode reader is for. Common uses can include patient management and tracking, inventory restocking, scheduling appointments, or providing prescription medicines from time to time.
2. Pick the type of scanner that you need
There are a variety of factors on the basis of which barcode scanners are categorized into different types. These include the imaging technology that they use, form factor, reliability, connectivity modes, user interface, etc.
There are two broad categories of barcode scanners. These are either non-contact or contact scanners. As the name indicates, the contact scanner needs to come in physical contact with the code to read it, while the other one doesn’t. In the healthcare segment, non-contact scanners are a better option. Besides exploring and researching the features of healthcare barcode scanners, it’s also important to choose a reputable company like CodeCorp that offers high-quality products. Consider some of the healthcare scanners from Codecorp to make an informed decision.
3. Consider the environment where you will use the scanner
The functionality of a barcode scanner can be affected by certain factors. Therefore, another thing to consider before purchasing this equipment is to take into account all of these elements and whether they are pertinently available in the place where you want to use the scanner. Here are some of these factors:
- Adequate lighting: In order for a barcode scanner to work efficiently, an appropriately lit environment is required. However, if the area where the scanner will be installed is dimly lit, get one that has built-in illumination.
- Temperature: Drastically high or low temperatures can impact the scanning capabilities of a barcode reader, too. There are scanners that are rated to work in extreme temperatures, so it is essential to consider this before you make a purchase.
- Air quality: Chemical vapors and moisture in the air can also hinder the functionality of a barcode scanner. It is best to choose a reader that has an IP rating of 68 or more to ensure that it can survive harsh conditions.
4. Choose the relevant form factor
Barcode scanners are available in different shapes and sizes. Also known as the form factor, the design of a barcode reader has its own function and utility in various industries. For instance, in a healthcare institution, in-counter scanners are not commonly used. This form factor is most frequently found at retail outlets like supermarkets and pharmacies.
Other form factors include handheld, gun/pistol style, presentation, wearable, mobile computers, and fixed scanners. Depending on where the equipment will be used, consider which design and size will be the most suitable. Commonly, handheld or gun/pistol-style scanners are found in healthcare facilities because they are the most convenient to use.
5. Bear in mind the type of barcodes that you will be scanning
There are two types of barcodes in the market as of now. The first is the conventional one-dimensional or 1D barcode that includes the series of vertical lines commonly found on almost every product that you purchase. More recently, though, the second type, two-dimensional or 2D barcodes, is becoming common. These include QR codes, most commonly.
Different readers are suited for different types of barcodes. Therefore, it is another important element to bear in mind that the scanner needs to be relevant for the type of codes that are common in your particular healthcare setting. Depending on the needs of your business, it is important to pick a scanner that can read both types of codes.
6. Be careful about the range
The minimum distance from which a barcode can be effectively read and decoded is known as the scanning range of a barcode scanner. In most businesses and institutions within the healthcare field, the range is not an issue because items are usually within reach and not too large, allowing even contact scanning from various readers.
Your application will determine the scanning range you require; if users must scan barcodes at arm’s length, a conventional barcode scanner should be adequate. A distant or extended range capabilities barcode scanner must be used, however, if your business needs to read barcodes from objects that are stored on racks or shelves.
7. The scan speed and read rates are also important
Requirements for barcode scanning can differ from business to business. Some companies have significant movement of goods, which means that they need rapid scanning capabilities. Others can have a more modest workload, and even a medium-speed scanner can work effectively for them. Healthcare institutions fall in the first category, especially during emergencies.
With barcode readers, the percentage of successful detection is also an important factor. Since healthcare-related businesses and institutions need precision and care at all times, they require scanners with a high percentage of accurate detection. These are two essential elements to consider, therefore, especially in the medical segment.
Barcode scanners are essential pieces of equipment these days. In the healthcare sector, they have various applications, and although they are small, they can offer a host of benefits to the relevant facility or business. The only thing to consider is picking the relevant scanner after extensive research.