The GS1 barcoding programme could help trusts save an average of £3m per year, but it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where the Ready for GS1 campaign comes in, says Paul O’Hanlon.

Here at Omnicell UK, we are launching a campaign Ready for GS1 – which aims to help organisations meet the minimum GS1 standards required by the Department of Health for inventory management by 2019/20. Recent figures suggest that a third of NHS trusts are still not engaged on GS1 despite the DoH mandate announced in 2014 to use barcoding standards for all acute trusts.

The initial interim report into operational productivity within the NHS by Lord Carter made it clear that hospital efficiency needed to be at a consistently high standard and highlighted the need to embrace innovation and digital technology to ensure continual improvement.

Many hospitals are yet to automate their medical supply and medication processes, which means they are holding months of supplies unnecessarily and are unable to automatically reorder medication/stock or provide an accurate figure of individual patient treatment costs. Hospitals are wasting millions of pounds on supplies they don’t need simply because they don’t know what is being used, where, how and by whom.

Debunking myths

Such is the scale of the problem that the report predicts that the introduction of the GS1 programme will allow every hospital to on average save a staggering £3m per year. Yet, as with many aspects of the digital age, it can often be hard to know where to start, which is why our Ready for GS1 campaign aims to debunk myths and complexities surrounding the issue and offer practical solutions.

The awareness campaign will include a number of activities such as:

  • Social media campaign using Twitter #readyforGS1
  • Development and distribution of educational materials eg leaflets, brochures
  • Advertising and educational features in trade media

With GS1 standards looming it’s crucial for all trusts to be in the process of developing a robust plan. At Omnicell, we are best placed to help trusts to navigate the GS1 process – we have already helped 100 NHS hospitals to save a total of £50m with our range of solutions.

Drawing on 20 years’ experience in ensuring the health of patients through reliable inventory management systems, we know that one system won’t fit every hospital. As such, we can commit a dedicated project team to work with you to design a solution that will fit each individual scenario. We are the only GS1 accredited partner to offer the full range of scanning, cabinet and RFID systems and have unrivalled NHS experience.

For more information, see our website or call 0161 413 5333

Paul O’Hanlon is managing director of Omnicell Ltd, UK & Ireland.