Healthcare Providers Advance the Cause of Supply Chain Standards

Dec. 9, 2010
Healthcare group says industry-wide adoption of GS1 data standards is critical to improve patient safety and supply chain efficiency

To improve patient safety and supply chain efficiency, Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic and Sisters of Mercy Health System (Mercy) have joined together to advance the adoption of GS1 Standards in the healthcare industry.

The 2010 GLN Sunrise, which calls for the implementation of GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs) in lieu of custom account/location numbers, is set for Dec. 31, 2010. The GLN is a 13-digit number used to uniquely identify any legal entity/trading partner, e.g., divisions of suppliers; functional entity, e.g., a nursing station; or physical location, e.g., hospital wing.

On behalf of their organizations, Deb Templeton, vice president of supply chain services, Geisinger Health System; Brent Johnson, vice president of supply chain, Intermountain Healthcare; Laurel Junk, vice president, supply chain, Kaiser Permanente; Jim Francis, chair of supply chain management, Mayo Clinic; and Vance Moore, president and CEO, Roi (Mercy’s supply chain division), issued this joint statement:

“The implementation of GS1 Standards in healthcare is critical to helping our industry drive reform in supply chain processes. While the adoption of Global Location Numbers (GLNs) is instrumental to ensuring the right products are delivered to the right location, the next step for all supply chain partners across healthcare is to work toward implementation of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs). We believe the adoption of GTINs will help providers capture the most value through the unique identification of every medical product.

“A consistent platform across our industry is needed to identify products used on patients, to lay a foundation for comparative effectiveness research, and to help eliminate confusion and inefficiency due to the void of standards. Standards adoption will be transformational for optimizing the supply chain.

“We believe that a single standard is essential to rapid adoption and believe that GS1 is the only valid standard we plan to support.

“We have an opportunity as an industry to move forward together to enhance supply chain visibility, improve clinical decision making and reduce costs. It is now time to convert talk to action. It is time for supply chain leaders to adopt GS1 Standards.”

The collaborative is looking for ways to consistently adopt and operate using the standards, from the use of similar contract language specifying GS1 requirements to uniform adoption of the standards using similar operating methods.

“GS1 Standards are used by more than one million GS1-member companies worldwide and the use of GS1 Standards in the healthcare industry continues to grow significantly," says Dennis Harrison, president, GS1 Healthcare US, which was established in 2008 at the request of the U.S. healthcare industry to provide a forum for industry members to drive the adoption and implementation of GS1 Standards. “In addition to helping improve patient safety, the implementation of GS1 Standards can help the industry better manage supply chains through accurate data and the ability to efficiently share data internally and externally.”

The adoption of GS1 Standards also establishes a solid foundation for Federal healthcare regulatory requirements, such as Unique Device Identification (UDI), a uniform labeling system for identifying medical devices throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to provider. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working toward full implementation of the UDI system by September 30, 2013.