GS1 UK is working with the Department of Health to help trusts develop a GS1 adoption plan, and it will be hosting an e-procurement awarness webinar to guide the way

Data illustration

The strategy requires staff across departments to understand concepts such as unique identification and datapools

This article was part of the eProcurement channel, in association GS1. The channel is no longer being updated.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health published its e-procurement strategy, which mandated the use of GS1 standards throughout the NHS. GS1 standards enable globally unique identification for items in the supply chain.

‘All trusts need to appoint a GS1 lead to help develop a GS1 standards adoption plan by 2015’

This mandate requires every item that enters a hospital to be identified with a GS1 code, creating a shared language for the exchange of information between trading partners.

But the benefits offered through introducing the standards are not limited to back-end processes in the supply chain – each item can be verified at every step of its hospital lifecycle through barcode scans, right up to a GS1 code on a patient’s wristband.

All items, such as surgical instruments, medicines and food, can then be scanned at the point of being administered to a patient. This means all activities can be referenced and verified against an electronic health record, ensuring the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.

Furthermore, suppliers will be required to enter all their product data into a GS1 certified datapool and the NHS will receive all product data via the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) – an industry-wide platform for secure synchronisation of accurate data between trading partners.

While this explains the “what” of the new procurement requirements, trusts now need to develop a plan to support the “how”.

Appointing a GS1 lead

Most hospitals already use GS1 standards to some extent; they may be present within a particular system or department, for example, and one or two people might have knowledge of them and what their purpose is.

However, the e-procurement strategy mandates the use of the standards throughout hospitals, which means greater understanding of concepts such as unique identification and datapools are now necessary for appropriate members of staff across multiple departments.

In order to introduce and oversee this programme of change, the strategy sets out that all trusts need to appoint a GS1 lead to help develop a GS1 standards adoption plan by 2015.

It is important for this lead to generate a firm baseline knowledge of GS1 standards and the requirements of the strategy, so they can allocate the appropriate level of resource at each stage of development, and identify areas for prioritisation to suit the specific hospital’s circumstances.

Furthermore, the plan will need to be overseen by a senior management steering group, to ensure it receives the support it needs to be driven through to full adoption.

Alaster Purchase is chief operating officer of GS1 UK

Support for adoption plans

GS1 UK is working closely with the Department of Health to help trusts develop and achieve their adoption plans.

As part of this work, GS1 UK is hosting an eProcurement awareness webinar. This session will provide an overview of GS1 standards in healthcare, the benefits in terms of patient safety and cost saving, and how to plan a GS1 implementation.

There webinar takes place on 20 November. Find out more and register now to ensure you are equipped to develop an efficient and effective standards adoption plan.