GSK supports medical record keeping with 2D barcodes on vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline, a research-based pharmaceutical company, announced on Friday the rollout of two-dimensional barcoding on the inner containers and outer boxes of most of its U.S. vaccines to support electronic-medical record keeping.

Two-dimensional barcodes are smaller than current linear barcodes and can hold significantly more information, including product identification, lot number and expiration date. Healthcare providers can use the barcodes to update patient records, vaccination reports and their inventory management system automatically with the necessary hardware and software. The system reduces the need to manually enter information.

"We're committed to being one of the early adopters of this technology," Leonard Friedland, the vice president of scientific affairs and public policy at GSK Vaccines in North America, said. "Through regular electronic scanning of information contained in 2D barcodes, we believe that a more accurate and complete picture of U.S. vaccine usage could emerge."

In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started a 2D barcoding pilot initiative with support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds efforts to place 2D barcodes on vaccines," Edward Zissman, the co-chair of the AAP Vaccine Barcoding Project, said. "The move to scan vaccines electronically is an important step in helping to facilitate accurate and uniform records of immunization for children across the U.S."