As far as I have been able to discover, there is no standard for data marking of drugs and medical devices. Depending on the product, it may be necessary for packaging to identify contents, strength, date (and possibly batch) of manufacture, expiry date, and probably many other pieces of information, depending on the item. A good industry standard for this would simplify development of hardware and systems (e.g. pharmacy inventory control), and make them interoperable. Ideally, it would be international.
The precise form, (bar code, QR code, RFI tag, attached trained parrot) in which the information is carried doesn't matter much. If space allows, redundant forms, (e.g. QR & RFI) might be used. The important point is that any system built to the standard should be able to tell an expired aspirin from a "machine that goes ping" by machine-reading its package. (Drugs and devices may require separate data hierarchies, but the standard should make it possible to discriminate between them.)
The industry may have to be prodded by government to get its act together, but it should happen.
I donot understand why do we need industry standard and what kind. Can't we use the same standard that are currently used for medicine. Even today, all the information about the medicine is either printed on the label or barcode.
Where are those standards documented in a publication? I've looked for them without success.
If I want to write an inventory control program for a hospital pharmacy, for example, can I guarantee that every package in there will carry machine-readable information in a common format? Discriminating between, e.g. date of manufacture and date of expiry, is impossible unless the data are either tagged in some way by an identifier, or by their location.
It is interesting to note that the focus of the paper was in two areas; the need for interoperability within the healthcare system and the steps necessary to fully achieve the same. The first part is especially important because of the fact that the stakeholders will be more likely to welcome and adopt the concept of interoperability once they understand how important it is and how it can help in the improvement of the health sector.
This is without doubt a great move for the health sector. In the recent years there has been piling pressure on medical practitioners, especially physicians practicing within the United States, to adopt electronic medical and health record systems and increased interoperability, if only within the medical records software alone, would be a great move towards reaping the profits of ERS.
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