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What is a HIBC barcode?

What is a HIBC barcode?
What is a HIBC barcode?

HIBC (Health Industry Bar Code) a barcode standard developed by the Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) to enable standardised communication between manufacturers and retailers. HIBC barcodes are designed to be used for identifying and tracking healthcare-related items.

The ISO 22742 Standard recommends using HIBC as a global labelling application for product packaging as it’s compatible with all ISO alphanumeric symbologies and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). It supports Manufacturer and Product Codes containing up to 18 alphanumeric characters, including fields for quantity, lot number, serial number, expiration and manufacturing dates.

An extended code form is also available, which includes additional information, such as integrated hyperlinks.

How do HIBC barcodes work?

The HIBC barcode is a two-dimensional barcode composed of two parts: the primary symbol and the encoded data. The primary symbol consists of a series of vertical lines, with the first line being a start code and the last line being a stop code. The encoded data can contain information such as the product’s Unique Device Identifier (UDI), serial number, lot number, expiration date, and other product-specific information.

The HIBC barcode also contains a check character used to verify the accuracy of the encoded data. The check character is a single character calculated using a mathematical formula to ensure the encoded data is correct.

The structure of a HIBC barcode is divided into several sections, including:

  1. Start character: signals the start of the barcode data
  2. Application Identifier: identifies the type of medical product encoded, such as a prescription drug or medical equipment
  3. Product data: includes specific information about the product, such as the product name, manufacturer, and expiration date
  4. Check digit: a mathematical calculation used to verify the accuracy of the data encoded in the barcode
  5. Stop character: signals the end of the barcode data

The structure of a HIBC barcode is designed to be readable by humans and machines, allowing healthcare professionals greater access to the data it contains.

Can you use HIBC to create a UDI barcode?

Yes, the UDI is a unique identifier assigned to each medical device and is used to track and trace the device throughout its lifecycle. A UDI comprises of a device identifier (UDI-DI) and the product identifier (UDI-PI).

To learn more about UDI barcodes, read what is a UDI barcode?

The HIBC, when combined with the UDI, provides a standardised, easily accessible, and traceable identifier for each medical device. The HIBC code is made up of two parts: the primary code (UDI-DI), which includes the product reference, separated by a “/“ symbol, and the secondary code (UDI-PI), which includes production data.

The primary code (UDI-DI) establishes a unique product reference and consists of the following data:

What are other types of HIBC barcodes?

  1. HIBC LIC (Labeler Identification Code): is a two-dimensional barcode that encodes a large amounts of information, including product information, serial numbers, and expiration dates.
  2. HIBC PAS (Provider Applications Standard): is a linear barcode used to encode information related to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

What type of medical devices use HIBC barcodes?

HIBC barcodes are used on a wide range of medical devices, including medical implants, pacemakers, insulin pumps, syringes, and even medical supplies.

Some examples of HIBC barcodes applications are:

  1. Prescription drugs: HIBC barcodes often track and identify prescription drugs, such as pills and liquids, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  2. Medical equipment: HIBC barcodes can be used to track and identify a wide range of medical equipment, including oxygen tanks, heart monitor surgical instruments, medical devices, and supplies.
  3. Blood products: HIBC barcodes are often used to identify and track blood products, such as blood bags, blood samples, and blood components. This helps ensure the right blood product is used for the right patient and that the blood product is safe.
  4. IV bags: HIBC barcodes are used to track and identify intravenous (IV) bags used to administer medications and fluids to patients.
  5. Biomedical implants: HIBC barcodes can identify and track biomedical implants, such as pacemakers and artificial joints.
  6. Laboratory Specimens: HIBC barcodes identify and track laboratory specimens, such as urine samples. This helps ensure that the correct specimens are being tested and the results are accurate.

What are the benefits of using HIBC barcodes?

HIBC barcodes provide many advantages for healthcare providers and manufacturers. They allow healthcare providers to quickly access important information about a patient. By scanning a patient’s wristband or other identification, healthcare providers can quickly access the patient’s medical history, current medications, and any allergies. This helps ensure that the right patient is given the proper treatment, reducing the risk of medical errors.

HIBC barcodes also provide a cost-effective way of identifying and tracking medical products. The cost of using HIBC barcodes is much lower than other identification methods, such as RFID tags. Furthermore, HIBC barcodes are standardised, making them easy to use and compatible with existing systems.

The use of HIBC in healthcare has several advantages, including:

  1. Increased efficiency: HIBC barcodes allow for quick and easy tracking of medical products, reducing the time and effort required to manage and track medical supplies.
  2. Improved patient safety: HIBC barcodes help ensure that the proper medical products are used for the right patient, reducing the risk of medication errors and improving patient safety.
  3. Increased accuracy: By using HIBC barcodes, healthcare professionals can access accurate and up-to-date information about medical products, reducing the risk of errors and increasing the accuracy of medical processes.
  4. Better inventory management: HIBC barcodes allow for real-time tracking of medical products, making it easier to manage inventory levels and reduce the risk of stockouts.
  5. Compliance with regulations: HIBC barcodes help healthcare organisations comply with regulations such as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), which requires standardised barcodes to track prescription drugs.

How do I extract data from a HIBC barcode?

You can use the Orca Scan barcode app to scan HIBC barcodes, and use our barcode variables to extract data into the relevant fields using the following steps:

  1. Download the Orca Scan barcode app
  2. Create a new sheet
  3. Add text fields for the values you wish to extract
  4. Add a HIBC variable as a default value to your fields
  5. Scan a HIBC barcode
  6. That’s it.

You will now see the HIBC value in the relevant field. If you need to track medical devices, try our Medical Device Tracking template, it automatically identifies any UDI barcode scanned (HIBC, GS1, ISBT) and extracts the values into the relevant fields.

Need help tracking HIBC barcodes?

HIBC barcodes were designed to reduce risk in healthcare by enabling healthcare providers and medical device manufacturers to capture detailed information about the product in the barcode. But, they’re only useful if the barcode tracking software used to capture them understands the HIBC format. Orca Scan does this by default, so if you need help tracking HIBC barcodes chat with us live or drop us an email

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