Health Industry Business Communications Council

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The Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) is the primary standard-setting and educational organization for healthcare bar coding.


As an industry-sponsored nonprofit council, HIBCC was established in 1983 by major health care associations to develop a standard for data transfer using uniform bar code labeling. Over time, HIBCC has expanded its focus to include additional electronic data interchange standards.


In collaboration with the standardisation attempts of the international healthcare industry, HIBCC administers and maintains the following standards and services:

  • Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) Supplier Labeling Standard
  • Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) Provider Application Standard
  • Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) Positive Identification for Patient Safety
  • Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) RFID
  • Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) Syntax Standard
  • Universal Product Number (UPN) Repository
  • Health Industry Number (HIN) System

The HIBCC Board of Directors oversees HIBCC operations and sets policy. Members are appointed from the ranks of HIBCC Member Organizations, which represent the healthcare industry. Previous and current appointments have been made by various organizations, including:

HIBCC's broad mission consistently expands to meet industry requirements and HIBCC is involved in a number of areas including electronic data interchange message formats, bar code labeling data standards, universal numbering systems, and the provision of databases which assure common identifiers.

Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) International Standards[edit]

HIBC is an industrial standard. It applies a versatile and technology independent data structure for unique identification of medical devices (UDI).

HIBCC is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSII). Its primary function is to support electronic communications by developing appropriate standards for information exchange among healthcare trading partners. HIBC has been standardized in ANSI HIBC 2.5:2015 and referenced by ISO/IEC 15418: 2016.

The first letter in the visible code and in the otical and electronical codes is a worldwide reserved + sign, according to ISO/IEC 15418:2016 .

The application of coding according to standard ANSI HIBC 2.5:2015 and ISO/IEC 15418:2016 is free of charge. Only formal registration of the Labeler Identification Code is subject to a license fee.

The preferred code symbologies and technologies to represent HIBC are:

  • the optical Barcode Code 128 defined in ISO/IEC 15417:2009
  • the Data Matrix code complies with the structures defined in ISO/IEC 16022:2006,
  • the Data Matrix Rectangular Extension (DMRE) defined in DIN 16587 DMRE:2015
  • the electronic RFID-HF and RFID-UHF codes compliant with the structures defined in ISO/IEC 18000-3:2010 HF, ISO/IEC 18000-63:2013 UHF).
  • the Codablock code as defined with the structures defined in ISO/IEC 15424. Usage is fading out by replacing with other 2-d symbols like Data Matrix

Millions of medical and surgical products as tools and pharmaca regularly bear the Health Industry Bar Code (HIBC) Standard label.

  • In Europe, the HIBC standard is accredited by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and it is also referenced in various International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards related to labeling of medical and surgical products.
  • In USA HIBC standard is an FDA-UDI accredited coding system for alpha numeric product codes (REF) of up to 18 characters length and concatenated production data (UDI-Production Identifier PI).

A distinguishing characteristic of the HIBC is that it permits encoding of both alphabetic and numeric characters, thereby providing manufacturers the ability to directly encode their product IDs, many of which are alphanumeric. The ability to directly encode product IDs eliminates the need to convert them to all-numeric substitutes, which in turn reduces the possibility of encoding errors. These must be minimized to avoid medical errors caused by incorrect product identification in hospitals.

Hence companies that use the HIBC labeling format are already in full compliance with voluntary standards in the institutional healthcare supply channel.

Auto-ID/Technical Committee[edit]

The Auto-ID/UPN Committee maintains HIBC Standards which provide healthcare-specific data structures and labeling options for medical/surgical products and patient care. The committee is composed of healthcare manufacturer, distributor and provider representatives, and companies that develop automatic identification equipment. The committee functions and conducts its activities in conformance with all ANSI requirements.


The HIN is a nine-character, alphanumeric identifier[1] assigned to every facility, delivery location and business activity in the healthcare supply chain. Each HIN is consistent, unique and flexible enough to represent a facility and the numerous ship-to locations within its organization. The HIN consists of a 7-character base HIN and a 2-character suffix.

The base HIN consists of 6 alphanumeric characters (0-9, A-Z) followed by a single modulo 36 check digit. System developers can confirm the validity of a HIN by summing the values of the first six characters (where 0=0 ... 9=9, A=10, B=11, ... Z=35), taking the modulo 36 of this sum, and compare it to the value of the 7th digit. For example, given a HIN of '740WL3V00', the Base HIN would be '740WL3V', which would compute as 7 + 4 + 0 + 32 + 21 + 3 = 67. 67 modulo 36 = 31. The value of the 7th (check) digit is V, and given V=31, the HIN is valid.

Suffix validation requires additional investigation. Record layout specifications indicate the suffix is always “ØØ” for facility records, or a sequentially ascending suffix beginning at “FØ” for prescriber or location records. This would imply a suffix of '10' is invalid.

As administrator of the HIN System, HIBCC applies a uniform identification standard to all entities submitted for enumeration. The standardization process includes a review to eliminate database duplication and information verification. Since inception, the number of records in the HIN Database has grown from 7,000 hospitals to more than 1.5 million facility records.

HIN has become an integral component of many supply chain processes, including membership and pricing eligibility. Industry trading partners access the HIN Database via the online HIBCC iHIN web site, as well as via EDI transmissions from HIBCC, several Value Added Networks, and by periodic distributions of the full database from HIBCC.

The HIN System is intended to be a “bridge” between a company’s internal account numbers and the account numbers of its trading partners. Through a centralized and standardized repository, the HIN System provides consistency and accuracy of customer identification for hundreds of major manufacturers, distributors and provider organizations, as well as US government agencies such as the Department of Defense, US Public Health Service, VA Hospital System and the Centers for Disease Control.

At present, the HIN Database includes hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, buying groups, pharmacies, manufacturers, distributors – virtually any entity providing service in the healthcare supply chain. It is widely used in both the private and public sector for e-commerce transmissions.

HIN User Group[edit]

The HIN User Group provides a forum for HIN subscribers to address questions about the HIN System with HIBCC Staff as well as other HIN users. The User Group is also responsible for maintaining and updating the HIN database structure, reviewing industry activities related to HIN database structure, and developing marketing and educational strategies.

HIN Databases[edit]

  • HIN Facility Database – includes all health care facilities identified by SHIP TO addresses
  • HIN Prescriber Database – includes physicians, dentists and other individual practitioners
  • HIN Animal Health Database – includes both veterinarians and animal health facilities, identified by practice location and SHIP TO address respectively


  1. ^ Field length information available on line as of 01/27/13 at

Health Industry Business Communications Council Website

External links[edit]