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The Evolution of Patient Identification: Part V

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Direct Thermal Barcode Patient ID Wristbands: Cartridge and Thermal Roll Technology


As direct thermal printers gain popularity in the healthcare industry, two wristband technologies are available for positive patient identification – direct thermal rolls and direct thermal cartridges. Direct thermal rolls are the gold standard for proven technology, on-demand printing, and easy set-up. On the other hand, the direct thermal cartridge is the latest technology to be introduced to the market. In this blog post, we provide a comparison of these two different technologies as it relates to the printer system, product performance, environmental impact, and cost.


Comparing Cartridge and Thermal Roll Printing


  • Requires specific printers that contain cartridge slot from sole source vendor

  • Contains sensor to detect wristband length

  • Compatible with all leading thermal roll printers

  • Contains black mark technology to detect wristband length

  • Maximum speed up to 4-inches per second (101 mm per second)

  • Maximum speed up to 8-inches per second (200 mm per second)

  • Faulty cartridges lead to more printing jams

  • Entire cartridge needs to be replaced if jam occurs

  • Proven technology resulting in minimal jams

  • Easy removal of wristbands from the roll if jam occurs; roll can then be re-used

  • ​Increased wastage of cartridges

  • Proper cartridge recycling available in some locations

  • Additional shipping costs required to recycle cartridge

  • Single-use disposable

  • Optimized to have the most efficient resources and minimize environmental impact

  • $0.35 per band

  • $700.00 per printer

  • $0.26 per band

  • $500.00 per printer


About Medirex Systems Inc. Medirex Systems Inc. (Medirex) is a Canadian-owned and operated business connecting patients to health information systems. Being an industry leader for over 50 years, Medirex has evolved to bridge the gap between patient identification and engagement by cultivating patient connections with ease, security, and no errors. Providing a positive patient identification experience for over 10 million Canadians, Medirex adopts technologies ensuring that the patient has a voice in their healthcare journey. Medirex aids in the adoption of digital health resources and data to improve the patient experience for your healthcare organization. Media Contact: Medirex Communications Medirex Systems Inc. +1-416-363-9313

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