Serialization is not a new concept in the pharmaceutical space, but many attempts and implementations have failed to cover the necessary range of users and use cases needed to make them ubiquitous.
The UnitVisID serial number was primarily designed with unit-of-use medications in mind. But it also accommodates a wide range of objects that interact with, or are related to, those unit-of-use medication. For example, the following can also be assigned a UnitVisID Alliance serial number (and have a corresponding RFID tag):
- A user who interacts with a pharmaceutical (user badges).
- A kit, tray, or inventory system used to stock, transport, or dispense a pharmaceutical (kits, automation devices).
- A salable-unit case or carton containing multiple unit-of-use pharmaceuticals (parent-child relationships).
The UnitVisID serial number also has a number of features designed to make it extensible over time and allow for an ecosystem of registrants to operate independently.
Supporting the Widest Range of Use Cases
Pharmacies manage a wide range of items in their inventory, but some of these items don’t have NDCs or FDA labeler codes.
The UnitVisID serial number and EPC schema can help solve a wide variety of challenges in a pharmacy’s environment, including:
- Pharma & 503B products with an NDC
- Supplies with an HRN
- Any product with a UPC
- Automation IDs (robots, carousel, cabinets, etc.)
- Medications compounded in-house
- Related objects (trays, bins, carts, locations, people, etc.)
UnitVisID Serial Number and EPC FAQs
- The UnitVisID serial number (and EPC) is a 96-bit number.
- EPC+TID pairs must be registered. Since the TID on the tag is immutable, it can be used for integrity checks when future lookups of the item occur, helping to prevent errors and detect suspect and illegitimate products.
- The use of user/extended memory for encoding pharmaceutical information directly on the tag is prohibited This has fallen out of favor in other industries that rely on RFID, as it’s now widely recognized to be limiting and less trustworthy.
- Once encoded with a serial number, tags must be locked with a non-obvious, non-trivial password. Encoders should rotate their passwords at least every 6 months.
- Including a QR Code (derived from the serial number) on the unit-of-use packaging allows for non-RFID systems to quickly parse the serial number, EPC, and URL of an object.
- Using the EPC as a pointer, API endpoints allow UnitVisID Alliance systems to look up and store information related to each item.
- Whenever possible, print the Serial Number (or the last 4 hex characters of the serial number) since this is important for troubleshooting and for easy identification of a particular item.
- In the case that there is no room on the human readable packaging, the serial number can be omitted (determined on a case by case basis).