Every day, businesses and industry create about 2.5 quintillion bytes of information (that’s 2.5 with 18 zeros). Understandably, many organizations struggle to manage and maintain the data they create. For decades, businesses relied on paper records that were prone to being lost or damaged. Data collection using hand-written forms and manual entry was the standard. But this is both time-consuming and fraught with human errors. Finding efficient, safe, and practical methods for collecting, using, and storing information is one of the struggles faced by organizations around the world. From patient information forms to shipping manifests to automotive parts lists, businesses rely on the data contained in these forms. Ensuring that data is collected accurately, organized meaningfully, and accessed easily is what all businesses hope to have to help them run smoothly.
HOW IS DATA CAPTURED?
Data capture can be handled in several ways. Oddly, many companies choose to continue with paper forms and manual entry. They’ve relied on forms and paper data for so long, they see no reason to change. They may see the introduction of technology as an added complication, slowing down their work while they wait for installation and adding a layer of difficulty to an already challenging system However, the different options for digitally capturing important data are easy to understand and just as easy to implement.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) allows computer scanners to record the data from various typed or printed forms. Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) allows computers or scanners to read hand-written documents. Many healthcare organizations are assigning a patient ID barcode to all individuals within their system. This barcode captures critical information such as the patient’s name, insurance information, and medical history. When the patient ID barcode is scanned, healthcare providers can instantly and securely access the necessary information for the patient.
Many warehouses receive packages that have multiple barcodes on them. Using ICR tools such as mobile scanners, warehouse employees can scan all barcodes at once and have the information accurately sorted and stored digitally. Companies building a loyalty program can use their regular workflow scanner to read the barcode on a customer’s ID to collect name and address information while law enforcement can scan an ID to verify identity and access the law enforcement database.
Different barcode styles can contain different amounts and types of information. The type of data that is being stored will determine the type of barcode used for storing it. Scanning a barcode is faster and more reliable than having to manually enter the data by typing it into a computer. The algorithms that run the barcode-reading software can be programmed to collect as much or as little of the available data as is needed by the individual company. And data stored in barcodes is safer than data in other forms. For example, paper documents can be stolen, read, or copied, but barcodes keep information secure until a properly programmed scanner reads the code and unlocks the information.
IMPROVING STORAGE AND INCREASING SECURITY
As mentioned before, paper documents pose several problems. Papers can be easily lost or damaged, paper files in folders require a large amount of storage space, and they are easily misfiled in crowded and overstuffed filing cabinets. Paper also poses a possible security risk as a file left open on a desk or in a medical reception area can be seen by other patients or unauthorized staff, creating HIPAA violations and other risks to providers. In warehouses, paper files may be stored far away from where they are needed, in another part of the building, or in a completely different building. Paper forms and manual entry of data are prone to mistakes due to human error. Customers or patients may complete forms improperly. Staff members can also make keying or data entry errors that are difficult to find and can lead to expensive or even legal ramifications.
By switching to digital data collection and storage, files can be stored electronically which eliminates the need for filing cabinets or shelves. They can be encrypted and digitally protected by increasing levels of security. Even in the event of a natural disaster, when backed up to an offsite server or cloud storage, these files remain safe. This allows businesses to continue operations almost without a pause in the event of an emergency.
BENEFITS OF DIGITAL DATA CAPTURE
When collecting data digitally, healthcare, industry, and business provide themselves with improved efficiency, cost savings, and security. Incorporating barcodes and barcode scanning simplifies data capture procedures, improves overall accuracy, reduces the need for additional storage, and improves the speed with which information is collected, stored, and accessed later. Barcodes can contain a significant amount of data, and the amount of data that can be stored increases on nearly a daily basis. A barcode scanner can access that data instantly and without the risk of human error that can slow down procedures and frustrate guests, customers, or patients.
Code provides every aspect of digital data collection that your organization needs. We offer our GoCode secure barcode symbology to protect your data in a secure, paperless format. We also provide our barcode decoding software that can quickly and accurately read barcodes and interpret the data, putting it into convenient and usable forms. And finally, we can provide the barcode scanner that is best suited to your unique circumstances. We work with you to develop a combination of tools that will enhance your workflows while protecting your valuable information.
When you contact Code, we bring more than 20 years of experience to bear as we work with you to build a system designed specifically around your needs. Contact us today and let us get to work for you.