When was the last time you saw any type of consumer product without a printed bar code on the front or the back? Bar codes, both one and two-dimensional, are popping up in just about every industry you can think of, and many others you might not consider. One example is clinical laboratories.
Labs that provide services for humans have a strong incentive to find effective strategies of tracking, managing, and accessing patient data without compromising personal privacy. And those labs that are more research-based also want error-free data that can be used in many ways. That's why more and more laboratories are turning to 1D and 2D bar codes so that reams of data can be easily managed electronically.
Using a bar code labeling system within the lab can provide these benefits:
(1) Clear and legible patient identification labels,
(2) Increased speed and accuracy when handling specimens and charts,
(3) Reduced administrative and supply costs,
(4) Enhanced patient information on labels,
(5) Simpler label design and printing, and
(6) Improved management and reporting.
A bar code labeling system requires a durable printer to generate the labels and the proper software to keep the printer humming. One entry into the lab market is the Dymo LabelWriter 400. With a compact footprint and plenty of useful features, this workhorse can get the job done for laboratories both large and small. There are a few reasons a clinical lab might choose the Dymo LabelWriter 400 printer for their labeling needs:
Versatility and speed. The Dymo LabelWriter 400 is compatible with both PC and Mac computers and can print up to 40 labels a minute. And the USB cord easily connects with both desktops and laptops.
Cost savings. Unlike conventional inkjet or laser printers, the Dymo LabelWriter 400 thermal printer doesn't require ink or toner. Instead specialty paper reacts to the heat in the printer to create an image.
Easy label formatting. With the ability to create bar codes, text, and graphics on the labels, the Dymo LabelWriter 400 gives the user plenty of options. It will print the following bar code formats: Code 39 and 128, Codabar, UPC A/E, EAN 8/13 and 128, ITF-14, and interleaved 2 of 5 bar codes.
Unlimited software compatibility. The Dymo LabelWriter 400 can print labels directly from commonly used programs like Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel, QuickBooks, WordPerfect, and ACT! Approved by the United States Postal Service, the compact printer can also print on-demand postage with it's specialized Stamps solution.
While the Dymo LabelWriter 400 offers basic software as part of the package, if you're planning to do a lot of bar code printing, you may want to invest in software that's specifically designed to mesh with the printer in a laboratory environment. One option is InvMan by Cove Laboratory Software. Grab a portable bar code scanner to go with the system and you're ready to get to work.
Using bar codes in the laboratory environment is such an effective use of technology, you'll wonder why you didn't invest in one of these systems sooner.
See related articles:
A Passion For Bar Code Labels: Dana Ritchie and PaladinID
Ensuring Bar Code Quality in the Supply Chain