Rewritable ID Cards Offer New Market Opportunities
This VAR sells rewritable card printer systems by targeting the healthcare market.
Digi-Trax Corporation, a VAR and software developer, specializes in hardware, software, supplies, and services for bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions in the healthcare and life sciences market. The company has provided hardware and software solutions to blood banks for bar code compliance since 1989. Digi-Trax sells its Hema Trax.LPS software system to blood banks for blood donations and transfusion service centers choosing to print the new U.S. consensus standard bar codes on demand.
The Siouxland Blood Center, which had been using Digi-Trax' bar code solution to track donated blood, asked Digi-Trax to recommend a solution to an ID card problem it was encountering. The blood center's ID cards were not durable and had no means of tracking donors' visits. Siouxland wanted to track donors, send reminders when it was time to donate again, and institute some type of rewards program to ensure return volunteers. Richard Kriozere, president of Digi-Trax, proposed using the Star Micronics TCP300 card printer, also known as the Chameleon system, to solve Siouxland's problem.
Although the Chameleon is primarily used for security ID cards in corporations, the features of the printer made it suitable for Siouxland's needs. The Chameleon uses RICOH thermal technology to repeatedly print information directly onto plastic cards each time the card is inserted into the small-footprint, on-demand printer. For example, these cards can be preprinted with static information like the blood bank name and logo. Immediately following each donation, the donor's ID card is printed with variable information such as donor name, ID number, blood type, date last donated, and next eligible donation date. This variable data is erased and rewritten to the plastic ID card during each visit, up to approximately 300 times.
In addition, the backs of the cards, which contain magnetic coating, can be encoded and read by the Chameleon to communicate between the Chameleon and the host application. The system interfaces with both OCX and Windows drivers; however, Siouxland was the first Windows driver installation Kriozere experienced. According to Kriozere, "This provided the largest challenge of the installation. The Windows driver allows Siouxland to interface this system with its own PC program." Siouxland uses the cards to identify and register repeat donors, erase and reprint updated blood donation information and personalized health data, and schedule the next eligible donation dates.
Printer Implementation Leads To Additional Sales In New Market
Once the new printer was installed, Siouxland implemented a reward program for donors. Donors accumulate points during each donation, which are stored on each donor ID card each time they donate blood. Other blood centers have proven that simple plastic ID cards increase repeat donations, so Siouxland anticipates an increase in voluntary re-donation by as much as 15%.
Digi-Trax will continue to work with Siouxland to integrate the Chameleon with the blood bank's blood management system from Wyndgate Technologies. Wyndgate, whose database is widely used by blood banks around the country, began writing drivers to interface the TCP300 card printer into its next release. Kriozere expects this to increase sales of the Chameleon system at other blood banks using the Wyndgate Technologies blood bank management system. "We have two major blood bank software vendors investing in software support for our printers," says Kriozere. "In addition, Digi-Trax has established relationships with many healthcare software vendors and end users. We are hoping to piggyback off other successful products for future Chameleon installations."