Are you barcoding electronic registration and/or clinical forms to prepare them for scanning into MEDITECH scanning and archiving? Then use this discussion to swap tips, ask questions and share best practices with other e-forms users.
MEDITECH SCA supports 128 & 3 of 9 format Bar Codes. It is possible to use both formats on a single page. If your Patient Label generated from NPR is 128 it would be acceptable to use format 3of 9 on your preprinted or print on demand forms.
The tradeoff between the formats is the size and ease of creation. The 3of9 ends up needing to be larger on the page but is easier to create. You can purchase a Font for your word processor and print it on the page.
The 128 format is smaller on the page but you may need a tool to build the code and then copy paste to the document. There may be some type of font that will add the needed check digit but I haven't yet worked with one.
Here is a Wikipedia link for 128 code http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_128
This links to Code 3 of9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_of_9
Each article will give you some basic info and probably more detail than you need. The basic concepts to remember:
Quiet Zone: There needs to be enough space between the Bar Code and other printing so that the bar code routine can distinguish where the Bar Code begins and ends. Rule of thumb is 1/4 inch of blank space around each bar code
Start & Stop characters: Each of the formats requires that you have a specified start and stop character. Some of the commercially available Fonts will automatically enter the characters some won't.
Character Spec: The attached specification has the details of MEDITECH’s requirements
Code 128 dimensions for scan ability @ 200 DPI
Code 128 bar codes require 1 bar code character for alpha, but can combine two numeric digits into a single bar code character. Additionally, it requires 1 start character, 1 checksum character, and 1 stop character.
Our minimum recommended size for one Code 128 character is .1875 inches, and our minimum recommended height is .375 (3/8) inch.
For Code 128, a 12 digit Unit Number with a single alpha prefix and 11 digits will be encoded as follows:
1 start character
1 alpha character
6 numeric characters (containing the 11 digits)
1 checksum character
1 stop character
For a total of 10 characters, this would be 10 * .1875 or 1.875 inches.
Code 3 of 9 or 39 dimensions for scan ability @ 200 DPI
Code 3 of 9 requires 1 bar code character for any alphanumeric character, but will require a shift character before any lower case alpha character if the alpha string is case sensitive. Additionally, it requires 1 start character and 1 stop character.
Our minimum recommended size for one 3 of 9 bar character is .16 inches, and our minimum recommended height is .5 (1/2) inch.
For 3 of 9, the same Unit Number as above would be encoded as follows:
1 start character
12 alpha characters
1 stop character
For a total of 14 characters, this would be 14 * .16 or 2.24 inches.
Character Height: The rule of thumb is the taller the better. The typical scanner uses a single linear scan that can be confused by a bar code that is skewed on the page. The scan can miss or misread the start or stop characters and not recognize the image on the page is actually a Bar Code. Ideally the Bar Code should be parallel to the edges of the paper.
Some other considerations for barcodes on forms are:
1. Since the length of the barcode is based on number of characters, minimize your FORM IDs to help minimize the real estate on the form that is used up.
2. External Form design tool software has the ability to adjust the size of barcodes by as small as 1/1000th of an inch both horizontally and vertically, allowing you to create the barcode as small as the reader will function with, again saving real estate on the form (which there never seems to be enough white space on forms anymore).
3. Make sure your barcode is placed away from areas that are written on/in, as users tend to accidentally 'write through' the barcodes, making them impossible to read by the scanners. I usually place the barcodes at the very bottom or very top of a form.
4. Utilize 2D barcodes whenever possible, although this depends on the barcode reader/scanner capabilities. The 2D barcodes work very well on wristbands (especially peds bands).
5. And lastly, I use my Android phones barcode reader app many times to verify that a barcode is readable (or to see what the value actually is after printout) if a hand scanner is unavailable, although ensure the actual scanner should be tested to ensure it works in the LIVE environment.