Joint Application Of RFID And 2D Barcode System Solutions In Pharmaceutical Logistics

- Jul 02, 2018-

Two-dimensional barcodes need to be read by optical scanning, and the reading efficiency is much lower than that of RFID. However, the 2D bar code has an advantage in application cost. Its application cost is only in the bar code label itself, and the cost of the RFID tag is still high at present. Due to the high cost of RFID technology application and the inconsistency of communication standards, many companies have chosen to compromise the construction of the logistics tracking system, namely the joint application of 2D barcodes and RFID for commodity tracking, and in the automotive industry. Good results have been achieved in logistics such as food safety.

1 Introduction

Pharmaceutical logistics tracking is the application of information tracking technology to achieve the complete process of information collection and transmission of pharmaceutical products in the production, storage, transportation, processing, distribution and other logistics links, and to obtain logistics information. It mainly includes two basic functions of drug information tracking and post-event information tracking, and provides important logistics information for decision makers to make decisions.

RFID and 2D barcode system solutions

At present, common logistics tracking systems use logistics operations in fixed locations such as factories, warehouses, distribution centers, etc., using bar codes to identify items, relying on databases to record item status information to track items; during the transportation of items, applying GPS receiver identification Vehicles, with the carriage as the transport unit, track the items by tracking the vehicles. With the development of automatic identification technologies such as bar codes, radio frequency identification (RFID), and the like, a single application of RFID to track a single item and a combined application of bar code and RFID technology have emerged. This paper discusses how to jointly apply 2D barcode and RFID technology in the medical logistics tracking system.

2 The status quo of 2D barcode and RFID combined application in logistics tracking

RFID reads information through the radio, has the characteristics of non-contact, can read multiple objects at the same time, the information capacity is large, the communication distance is long, the reading speed is fast, and the environment adaptability is strong. Compared with one-dimensional barcodes, two-dimensional barcodes do not require database support, independent storage and identification information, and have the advantages of large information capacity and high reliability. Two-dimensional barcodes need to be read by optical scanning, and the reading efficiency is much lower than that of RFID. However, the 2D bar code has an advantage in application cost. Its application cost is only in the bar code label itself, and the cost of the RFID tag is still high at present.

Due to the high cost of RFID technology application and the inconsistency of communication standards, many companies have chosen to compromise the construction of the logistics tracking system, namely the joint application of 2D barcodes and RFID for commodity tracking, and in the automotive industry. Good results have been achieved in logistics such as food safety. In the field of military logistics, Chen Xinggang et al also proposed the use of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology in the management of storage materials, tracking of materials and remote transfer, to help realize the visualization of military logistics.

3 Discussion on joint application in medical logistics tracking system

Different from general logistics, pharmaceutical logistics is characterized by high commodity value, strong circulation timeliness and strict regulations. Therefore, the joint application of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology in the medical logistics tracking system cannot be used to implement the practice of logistics in other industries. It is necessary to combine the characteristics of pharmaceutical logistics, follow the relevant laws and regulations of the pharmaceutical industry, and explore new application modes.

3. 1 Unified drug coding and identification method is the basis

3. 1. 1 Unification of the unique identification code of the drug

To achieve full logistics tracking of drugs, it is first necessary to uniquely encode and identify the drugs being tracked. Despite the recent issuance of national drug coding rules by SFDA, there is no derivative application standard for the uniformization of drug codes in this industry. Based on the national drug coding rules, we propose a coding scheme that uniquely identifies drugs. The code consists of a 14-bit local code, a 16-bit serial code and a 2-bit check code. The code length is 32 bits. This bit code refers to the 14-digit "National Drug Code Base Code" specified by the SFDA and is used to identify the specific type of drug. The serial code consists of the production lot number and the product sequence number and is used to identify the production timing of the drug. The check code is calculated and generated based on this bit code and sequence code, and the authenticity of the code can be recognized. A set of codes uniquely identifies a box (bottle) of medicine.

3. 1. 2 Two-dimensional bar code—identity for pharmaceutical retail packaging

At present, coding and labeling with the minimum retail packaging of medicines as the basic identification unit has become a development trend of the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are responsible for printing and labeling two-dimensional bar code labels for each box of drugs. The label consists of a barcode graphic area and a character reading area. Important drug property information such as drug name, specification, manufacturer, production batch number, expiration date, unique identification code, etc., need to be printed in the reading area in characters, so that the logistics operator can check the information after scanning the barcode. If it is a special drug, it should be printed in accordance with the provisions of eye-catching classification marks. In addition to the information of the reading area, the bar code graphic area can also record the pharmacological classification, storage conditions, and guiding price of the drug, so that the dealer can enter the drug information.

RFID technology is a key technology for real-time logistics tracking. Drug manufacturers need to add RFID tags to the entire box of drugs to track each box of drugs involved in logistics. Each RFID tag has its own unique identification code. The name of the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the weight and size of the package, and the unique identification code of all the drugs in the box must also be recorded together in the RFID tag.

3. 1. 3 RFID - Identification for Logistics Packaging

RFID technology is a key technology for real-time logistics tracking. Drug manufacturers need to add RFID tags to the entire box of drugs to track each box of drugs involved in logistics. Each RFID tag has its own unique identification code. The name of the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the weight and size of the package, and the unique identification code of all the drugs in the box must also be recorded together in the RFID tag. In the database of the drug manufacturer, the information in each RFID tag is stored, and the correspondence between the unique identification code of the RFID tag and the unique identification code of the drug in the container is established. After the drug enters the circulation field, it is necessary to continue to add logistics information such as wholesalers, logistics service providers, storage environment, and logistics operations to the RFID tag, and to record the circulation history of each box of drugs.

3. 2 information connection between the nodes of the supply chain is the key

Drugs eventually reach the patient and need to go through many nodes in the pharmaceutical supply chain. To achieve uninterrupted tracking of medical logistics information, the interface between the various nodes is the key. The complete supply chain includes at least pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

3. 2. 1 Pharmaceutical manufacturers

Manufacturers are responsible for marking 2D barcode labels on drug retail packaging and RFID labels for whole medicines. Each RFID label information corresponds to a number of 2D barcode information and stores this information in a database server. Manufacturers should strengthen the medicine FCL packaging technology to prevent random destruction in the circulation, steal, replace the drug inside the box, and then destroy the relevance of barcode information and RFID tag information.

3. 2. 2 Drug Wholesalers

After drugs flow from manufacturers to wholesales, they often have to go through a long process of circulation. Usually, after the first-tier wholesaler purchases medicines from the manufacturer, it is rarely necessary to disassemble the boxes and destroy the integrity of the entire box of medicines. During its stay, only RFID tags are read and written. The second and third-tier wholesalers will often encounter the need to split the consolidation of the case. At this time, it is necessary to re-establish logistics packaging, scan the LCL medicines one by one, and label new RFID tags. At the same time as completing the LCL operation, the relationship between the RFID tag and the bar code information in the database needs to be updated.

3. 2. 3 Retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies

Retail pharmacies and hospital pharmacies are sales terminals for pharmaceutical end users. After purchasing drugs from wholesalers, they need to remove the boxes for sale. In the process of selling or distributing medicines, it is convenient to establish a sales record of the medicine by scanning the two-dimensional barcode on the medicine packaging box. For hospital pharmacies that have used electronic prescriptions, it is also possible to establish linking information between prescriptions and dispensed drugs when dispensing drugs, and to record the final destination of each package of drugs for future follow-up.

3. 3 Warehousing and transportation links are difficulties in logistics tracking Pharmaceutical logistics involves many logistics links such as handling, loading and unloading, warehousing, transportation, logistics processing, and distribution. Among them, the two links of warehousing and transportation are the difficulties of complete logistics tracking information.

3. 3. 1 Storage

For drugs, storage time accounts for the vast majority of the drug's entire life cycle. Only by tracking the information in the warehousing process of pharmaceuticals can the integrity of the logistics tracking information be ensured. The use of RFID technology can quickly and accurately collect a large amount of logistics information, realize the automation of drug out-of-warehouse and quick inventory operations. If you need to record more detailed logistics operations during the storage process, you can solve this problem by adding an RFID reader and an event command to the designated location. For example, it can be used on a forklift truck to record drug handling and loading and unloading operations.

3. 3. 2 Transport

The transportation link is the most difficult link in the logistics process and has long been a blind spot for logistics tracking. We design GPS, RFID and GPRS technologies to solve the logistics tracking problem of drugs in transit. First of all, before shipping, confirm that all the medicines to be shipped have RFID tags on them and install on-board GPS and mobile RFID readers for the transport vehicles. Car GPS automatically obtains vehicle location coordinates and driving information. The mobile RFID reader reads the drug information in the RFID tag in the car. Then, through wireless communication terminals such as mobile phones, real-time information on vehicles and medicines is transmitted to the logistics information monitoring center. The information center can master the real-time information of transport medicines and realize real-time logistics tracking.

4 Problems in joint applications

The technical standards of RFID are mainly controlled by the two organizations of EPC global in the United States and UID in Japan. At present, China's application of RFID technical standards has not yet been introduced, and the application standards among various industries have not yet reached a unified level. The standardization issue has become one of the important reasons that hinder the promotion and application of RFID technology. Therefore, in the joint application of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology in the pharmaceutical logistics tracking system, we must first unify the application of RFID technology standards in the industry. Judging from the current status of domestic application of RFID, successful cases of large-scale application of RFID are all under the auspices of the government, such as second-generation resident ID cards, automatic train number identification systems, and Shanghai Port Container Management. However, there are a few successes in private commercial applications. Most of them only stay in the promotion test phase. In order to successfully apply RFID technology in the field of pharmaceutical logistics, it is also essential to obtain government support as much as possible.

5 Discussion

In the current stage of the development of China's pharmaceutical logistics industry, the use of two-dimensional bar code to carry drug information, to uniquely identify each drug retail packaging, and then use RFID tags to identify the logistics of drug packaging, record the drug information in the packaging, is a An economical and viable solution for tracking drug logistics. In addition, the application of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology can also achieve anti-counterfeiting of medicines, automatic expiration management, problem drug traceability and other functions, and is of great significance for strengthening the safety management of drug circulation.

The joint application of two-dimensional bar code and RFID technology is also applicable to the tracking of military medicine logistics information, but the requirements for communication security are much higher. In the application process, 2D barcode labels and RFID electronic labels must be reliably encrypted, and communication between RFID labels and readers must also be secured. For real-time tracking of medicines in transit, simply replace the onboard GPS of the transport vehicle with a terminal that supports the Beidou satellite navigation and communication system.

What is a 2D barcode/QR code

A two-dimensional bar code is a method for recording data symbol information in a black and white pattern distributed in a plane or two-dimensional direction according to a certain geometric pattern. Utilizing the concept of "0" and "1" bitstreams that form the internal logic of the computer, a number of binary geometric entities are used to represent literal numerical information, which is automatically read by an image input device or photoelectric scanning device to achieve Automatic information processing, which has some common features of the bar code technology Each code system has its own specific character set, each character occupies a certain width, and has a certain verification function. At the same time, it also has the features of automatic identification of different lines of information, and the ability to handle graphic rotation changes. The two-dimensional bar code can express information simultaneously in both horizontal and vertical directions, so it can express a large amount of information in a small area.