A 2D barcode is sometimes referred to as a matrix code, and is an effective way to present larger amounts of data than a traditional barcode given an equal amount of space. Linear (1-dimensional) barcodes do not have the same overlaying patterns of a 2D barcode which enhances the 2D form's data capabilities. The first generations of the 2D barcode were introduced in the later 1980's, though the growth of available products since that time has been exponential. Originally intended for shipping and parts identification through the reading of symbols on packaging labels, 2D barcodes are now used across a number of different industries to promote efficiency and accuracy in business operations. 2D Barcode labels exceed the data storage potential of their 1-dimensional counterparts by storing information along both the height and width of the symbol, a trait that shows promise for industries where labels are not always available in sizes sufficient to store all the necessary data. Handheld laser barcode scanners have helped to promote the integration of the 2D barcode for new applications. Since the speed of a label scan with a handheld laser barcode scanner is completely dependent upon human movement, compiling more data in the same amount of space yields immediate increases in data and accuracy. The human element will not be scanning the label any more efficiently than it was before, but the label will yield far more data than its predecessor. In addition to the hard data a 2D barcode is capable of storing, the increased storage capabilities enable misread prevention to be built into the symbol. Misread prevention measures, such as a check word, ensure that any erroneous interpretation is prevented. Banking on their tendency to yield more accurate results than traditional 1-D barcodes, 2D barcodes began being used in medical facilities. Small bottles commonly used in hospitals are not capable of supporting large labels with traditional linear barcodes. The medication information, manufacturer information and dosage requirements are all necessary in a product's packaging. Using a 2D barcode enables the manufacturer to put valuable information in a small space so that hospital staff can effectively track each vial or unit. The accuracy necessary when dealing with a patient's medication is an implication of how precise data readings from 2D barcodes have become. Hospitals who do not accurately track dosage and expiration notations can be vulnerable to huge malpractice suits in the event of an injury or preventable illness. The 2D barcode has become reliable in preventing misreads of data to the extent that many different companies bank on the technology for the success of their business operations. Currently, there are nearly 2 dozen variations on the 2D barcode in use and production. The portable nature of the 2D barcode has made it increasingly popular across applications where there may not be a lack of space but accuracy and clear reading is paramount. Mailing labels and field service processes are all excellent candidates for the integration of 2D barcodes due to each function's tendency to generate inefficient data storage and extra work for low yield of information.