How to track medical devices using UDI barcodes

At Orca Scan, we’ve created a solution that allows care providers to track all formats of Unique Device Identification (UDI) barcodes in one single scan.

All Medical Devices sold in the US, EU and China must carry a Unique Device Identification (UDI) barcode. UDI barcodes are the global standard, introduced by Governments to protect patients around the world with transparency.

A UDI barcode allows every medical device to be tracked across the entire supply chain, from initial manufacture to its use with a patient.

Playable video of OrcaScan’s Medical Device tracking solution

How to track UDI barcodes using Orca Scan

The Orca Scan Medical Device Tracking template automatically extracts the Device Identifier, Serial Number, Manufacturer/Production Date, Lot Number and Expiration Date from a UDI barcode into the relevant columns when scanned. In addition, if the medical device is registered with the US FDA, Orca Scan will also populate the manufacturer’s name and device description - reducing human error.

To get started:

  1. Register for an Orca Scan account or sign in to your account
  2. Create a new sheet using the Medical Device template
  3. Download the Orca Scan barcode app
  4. Scan a UDI barcode on a Medical Device
  5. See the information extracted, enter a quantity and save the changes

To view all your medical devices, including locations, along with a full audit log, just log in to the Orca Scan web application.

What information does a medical device barcode contain?

The UDI barcode on a medical device is made up of two parts. The first is the device identifier which holds the manufacturer and device information. The second is the production identifier which contains the Manufacture Date, Lot Number, Serial Number and Expiration Date.

These values combined result in a unique identifier, allowing every instance of a medical device to be tracked and traced.

Why can tracking UDI barcodes be difficult?

UDI barcodes can be encoded into 3 different formats, GS1, HIBCC and ICCBBA. All 3 barcode types contain the exact same information but are presented differently.

The problem is, that not all devices and computer systems can track and scan the different types of UDI barcodes - That’s why manufacturers often place more than one barcode style on the product.

This often creates confusion for care providers when scanning the barcodes when they don’t know which barcode to scan. Instead, they often record the data manually before inputting it into a database – leading to increased human errors.

So, we created a solution that allows all the UDI data to be collected in a simple scan.

Why track medical devices?

Since 2016, recalls of faulty, expired or defective medical units saw an increase of over 70% (Statista, 2021). Before introducing the UDI barcode, a patient would have to undergo life-threatening surgery to identify if they were at risk from one of these defective devices.

The UDI barcode eliminates this by allowing medical staff to determine the exact patients implanted with a particular device.

Medical Device tracking questions?

We built Orca Scan to eliminate the need to write down Medical Device barcodes or type them into spreadsheets. UDI barcodes have the potential to reduce many risks and save lives, but only if captured and recorded without errors.

If the Orca Scan Medical Device Tracking solution does not entirely solve your problem, book a free implementation call, and we’ll help you modify the solution to meet your needs.

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