Handhelds to speed checkout

February 7, 2005

Albertsons plans to provide customers at all of its 2,500 stores with handheld scanners to let them skip checkout bottlenecks. Connected to the company's database and a global positioning satellite (GPS) system, the scanners will read product labels, keep a running total, and charge the customer's credit card at the exit. The devices can also direct customers to the shortest path to the items they want and alert them when their prescriptions are ready. The chain hopes to have the system in place within 18 months.

Albertsons plans to provide customers at all of its 2,500 stores with handheld scanners to let them skip checkout bottlenecks. Connected to the company's database and a global positioning satellite (GPS) system, the scanners will read product labels, keep a running total, and charge the customer's credit card at the exit. The devices can also direct customers to the shortest path to the items they want and alert them when their prescriptions are ready. The chain hopes to have the system in place within 18 months.

Small-minded QS/1 Data Systems has partnered with Zebra Technologies to offer its pharmacy customers a quiet-running thermal printer that is small enough to place at each workstation. The Zebra 3844-Z prints labels up to four inches wide at 300 dots per inch at a speed of four inches per second. For users of Rx bottle labels, warning labels, shelf labels, and bar-code labels, the thermal machine prints two-dimensional bar codes, composite graphics, and fine text. QS/1 will also offer thermal paper with an ultraviolet inhibitor to protect against fading and discoloration. For more information, go to http://www.qs1.com/ or check out the printers at http://www.zebra.com/.

Best of both worlds Precision Dynamics is about to unveil its combo RFID and bar-code reader developed by SkyeTrek. According to the San Fernando, Calif., firm that specializes in ID wristbands, the handheld DR 1000 dual reader is designed to improve the accuracy of patient identification and safety. Connecting to mobile med carts and medical devices, the DR 1000 is designed to read/write to RFID wristbands and to scan 1-D and 2-D bar codes. For more information, visit http://www.pdcorp.com/; e-mail info@pdc-rfid.com
; or phone (800) 847-0670.

Record setters NDCHealth, Atlanta, didn't experience a holiday slowdown in December. Its NDCHealth Intelligent Network processed a record 279 million pharmacy claim transactions and 198 million claims editing transactions via its NDC Post- & Pre-Editing Service. On Dec. 27, the firm processed a record 1,475 transactions per second.