FIGURE 6-2 Bar code symbologies.

SOURCE: Combes, 2004.

UCC) or (2) Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC). The NDC drug code must be incorporated into the bar code as it will serve as the unique product identifier. The different codes serve different purposes. The EAN/UCC standard was originally developed by the medical device industry, which uses Universal Product Numbers to meet the needs of retailers (HIBCC, 2001). Because no other standard was available at the time, drug manufacturers adopted the standard and integrated the NDC codes. However, many stakeholders consider the EAN/UCC standard to be inadequate for the specific applications and needs of the health care environment, especially those associated with patient safety (HIBCC, 2001). The HIBCC standard was designed to allow for more extensive and precise encoding and quicker tracking and tracing of specific drug products.

While narrowing choices down to two standards represents improvement, stakeholders believe that other aspects of the FDA rule need revision. In particular, the rule states that bar code symbology will be limited to a linear model that constrains the ability to encode a significant amount of information. This capability will be needed as health information technologies and clinical information systems advance. Therefore, these stakeholders are seeking to have the rule revised to allow for the use of three-dimensional models as well.

In addition, there are sizable cost implications when a hospital implements a bar code medication administration system. Thus, software programs will be required to be compatible with both the EAN/UCC and HIBCC standards, to accommodate various dimensional encoding models, and to be easily upgraded to meet demands for the encoding of additional

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement