Safer more efficient care starts with a simple scan

Jan 20, 2017, by  - Category:

HSE Procurement hosts Irish Healthcare User Group (HUG) seminar to examine the benefits of, and requirements for, barcode technology across the healthcare supply chain

The HSE Dr Steevens Hospital was the venue for the Irish Healthcare User Group (HUG) seminar on 4th November last. Over 80 senior leaders from Irish healthcare were present, with representatives from both the supplier and healthcare provider communities in attendance.

“Safer more efficient care starts with a simple scan” was the theme of the meeting. The presentations, delivered by guest speakers from across the clinical, regulatory and commercial worlds, looked at the wide ranging benefits to be accrued from the adoption of unique identification numbers and barcode scanning - right across healthcare, from procurement to theatre and bedside scanning.

Individual Health Identifier (IHI)

The event opened with a presentation from Richard Corbridge, CIO HSE. Mr Corbridge emphasised the requirement for a standards-based approach for Unique Identification saying “we can’t deliver without GS1 and data standards - we need to be able to identify all parts of the care journey”. He outlined plans for the launch of the Individual Health Identifier which will be based on the GS1 identifier for patients.

Unique Identification with a GS1 GTIN

John Swords of Health Business Services, the HSE’s Procurement Division, outlined how procurement is building on existing successful implementations of track and trace in Irish healthcare. Lighthouse Projects such as surgical instrument and endoscope tracking, as well as haemophilia medication management, use the GS1 GTIN as the single identifier, supporting a single system and one voice for health.

‘GTIN is just another name for a barcode. The most fundamental thing is to start with the GTIN and get your master data right,’ said Pat Tracy Group Operations Director, DCC Vital who spoke at the seminar about the ‘opportunity or cost’ of implementing GS1 standards. Mr. Tracy continued that regulation is mandating this change for suppliers, so industry must embrace it. He commented that while implementation will cost money there are opportunities for suppliers, big and small, in automating the order-to-cash cycle.

Michael Kelly, former Secretary General for the Department of Health and Board Director of GS1 Ireland and Chair of the Healthcare Committee moderated the event. Mr. Kelly outlined the opportunity for Ireland to leverage learnings from best practice both in Ireland and internationally. He pointed to the benefits of uniquely identifying patient, provider, product, place and procedure enabling the capture of information and outcomes based analytics. With work underway on the single financial management system the timing is right to ‘design in’ GS1 standards from the start, for a joined up system approach.

HUG Briefing Presentations

Further information on the “safer healthcare starts with a simple scan” initiative, together with copies of the presentation slides are available to download at