ghp December 2015 | 19 regulation & policy GS1 standards in healthcare – giving the certainty of truth GS1 standards in healthcare uniquely enable us to identify every person, every product and every place within the NHS. Their adoption and implementation helps prevent mistakes and gives certainty of truth – it allows hospital managers and clinicians to know at all times who did what to whom, when, why and where they did it and with which medical device, implant, pharmaceutical drug and dose. In line with the Department of Health’s eProcurement strategy in 2014 – which mandates the use of GS1 standards throughout the NHS – every single one of the 154 NHS Acute Trusts in England are now GS1 UK members. Every Trust has so far achieved at least some degree of “readiness” – and in many ways the first step has been done; the benefits of GS1 stand- ards in healthcare are now widely accepted. How do GS1 standards help? Using GS1 standards enables Trusts to improve the patient experience, outcomes and safety. As part of the eProcurement strategy, GS1 standards are providing the foundation for three core enablers that will improve patient safety, deliver stronger regulatory compliance and drive efficiencies. 1. Every person: identifying patients with a wrist- band, which includes a GS1 barcode, and staff enables accurate and consistent information to be captured and stored about the patient and the caregiver – a major driver for patient safety 2. Every product: easily accessing accurate and transparent product information for medical sup- plies, equipment and pharmaceuticals enables precise ordering, improved product availability and lower transaction costs 3. Every place: identifying every physical and operational location within the healthcare system enables information to be collected and stored where each event occurs The real power comes when you link people, products and places. We’re working with the Department of Health to drive the implementation of three primary applications across Trusts: 1. Purchase-to-pay: enabling Trusts to manage their procurement processes more efficiently while providing improved product availability 2. Inventory management: ensuring Trusts keep fewer products in stock and reduce wastage, yet ensuring products are readily available where and when they’re needed 3. Patient safety recall: making it easier to identify and remove all recalled products across the Trusts or even with the patient once they have been discharged Earlier this year, in perhaps the first ever case, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agen- cy (MHRA) used GS1 unique identification numbers to issue a product safety recall for metal-on-metal hip replacements. This signifies the power of using a single method of coding and identification across the whole industry and sets a great example for how GS1 standards can support healthcare and lead to better patient outcomes. Using GS1 standards allows NHS Trusts to achieve complete traceability throughout the supply chain and true interoperability between people and systems. This enhances the patient experience, makes for quick- er, safer and more effective treatment and reduces processing time, cost and administration errors. It gives Trusts, and healthcare professionals, complete visibility. The value of GS1 standards has recently been reinforced by the interim Carter Review. This states that their adop- tion will allow every NHS hospital in England to save an average of £3million each year – that’s £5billion across the whole NHS – while improving patient care. Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare at GS1 UK, the independent, not-for-profit standards organisation of over 29,000 members, explains how GS1 standards are seen as vital in healthcare.