By enabling barcode scanner integration in Front Desk, users are able to use a barcode scanner as an input device in a number of areas. Most importantly this functionality can be used to scan an item during the Receipting or Billing process to input the scanned item details. Using a barcode scanner is particularly useful for practices selling products, but you may also wish to create your own barcodes that represent your service items as well.
The areas you can use a barcode scanner include:
- Searching for an item code
- Editing/creating item code
- Stock Arrival
- Stock Adjustments
A barcode scanner can be considered similar to a keyboard, it is an input device that can enter characters and numbers by scanning a code. There are no particular brands of models of barcode scanner that we recommend, however if you are looking for a barcode scanner there are some key features it should have:
- Customisable header codes. (prefix characters used for integration with Front Desk)
- Customisable terminating codes. (suffix characters used for integration with Front Desk)
- USB connection.
- The ability to scan EAN13 barcodes (standard Australian supermarket barcode).
These features are considered standard for any modern barcode scanner available. For comparison, the barcode scanner we used in testing is a Symbol Technologies LS2208, which includes these features.
Once you have a barcode scanner connected to your computer, the next step is to configure your barcode scanner with the ‘Header’ and ‘Terminating’ codes mentioned above.As the process of programming these characters changes depending on your barcode scanner, please refer to your barcode scanner manual for configuration instructions.
The header and terminating characters you configure should be two random symbols you have little chance of accidentally entering in sequence on your keyboard. For example ‘*^’ for the header and ‘&~’ for the terminating codes.Essentially these help determine when your barcode scanner is inputting information, and when it has stopped.
The best method to test if your barcode scanner has been configured correctly is to open notepad or Microsoft Word and try scanning a barcode. You should first see your header characters, followed by the barcode digits you scanned, then the terminating characters on the end. Configuring Front Desk for Barcode Scanner Integration
To enable barcode scanning in Front Desk go to System Information, then from the ‘Bar Code Scanning’ tab select Enable Listening for Bar Code Scanning.
Click OK to confirm your settings, then select your preferences on how your barcode scanner behaves on each screen. For example in the Billing screen, you can choose to automatically add the item to be billed, or you can simply select the item to be added manually.
Assigning Barcodes to an Item Code
With your base configuration complete, the final step is to assign your barcode to their corresponding item codes.
From the Item Code window open the item you wish to assign a barcode. Click within the ‘Extended Code (Bar Code) field, then scan the barcode. With the barcode entered, close and save the item code to complete the configuration.
You are now ready to use your barcode scanner in Front Desk. Simply scan your barcode from one of the ‘barcode aware’ screens listed and it will input the item appropriately.