A shared vision for healthcare in Ireland

Achieving patient safety and efficiency in healthcare through barcoding.

HUG BB Nov 2014 Group PhotoThe GS1 Healthcare User Group (HUG) for Ireland, launched in April 2013 to support stakeholders with the implementation of GS1 standards in healthcare, recently held a briefing to present the work conducted to date.

The first presentation was from John Swords, Head of Procurement at the HSE, who outlined the importance of GS1 standards for patient safety and for compliance with regulation. The US Unique Device Identification (UDI) regulation, already in place for Class 3 medical devices, is coming to Europe. Such regulations drive the need for joined-up procurement and traceability systems across the supply chain, up to and including the point of care.

In his presentation, Vincent Callan, Director of Facilities at St James's Hospital (SJH) and HUG Co-Chair, outlined the work undertaken by the hospital and its suppliers to standardise product identification and to use the GS1 barcode, stressed the importance of good quality, accurate product data. The vision for SJH is to automate the order to payment cycle utilising global standards and building on existing national traceability solutions.

SJH Whitepaper CoverThe starting point for electronic procurement is to align supplier and hospital product data. SJH has leveraged the National Product Catalogue (NPC) GS1 data pool, to standardise the way it receives data from suppliers. The process replaces paper-based systems and provides direct links between financial and clinical systems.

The story of Cruinn Diagnostics and its journey to become the first company to "go live" with a data upload to the catalogue, and its implementation of all four electronic procurement messages, was told by its Technical Director, Peter Hussey. He reported that the resulting time savings for both supplier and hospital are significant and already visible.

Pat Tracey, Group Operations Director at Fannin/DCC Vital, presented the work that his organisation has done to compare its product data to that from six hospitals and to assess the level of GS1 codes available for products; the results of which were "far better than expected". During his presentation Pat pointed out that the widespread adoption of GS1 standards in the retail sector meant that there exists a greater degree of confidence in the traceability of confectionary and food products than some medical devices and noted there is an opportunity for the sector to collaborate to modernise the Irish healthcare supply chain, with benefits for everyone involved.

John Lardner, Commercial Manager for Ireland at Johnson&Johnson, outlined their reasons for implementing GS1 standards across all of their product divisions globally, in particular to address the hidden costs that arise from paper-based, error prone processes.

Australia established its National Product Catalogue eight years ago to address the need for accurate product data to enable eProcurement and other eHealth applications. Today Australia has more than 300,000 healthcare items in its catalogue and this catalogue is being leveraged by a range of public sector agencies as a source of accurate product data. Tania Snioch, Director for Healthcare at GS1 Global, delivered the update. The key message was that accurate data is a pre-requisite to introducing eProcurement and also scanning to the patient record.

The closing comments were delivered by HUG Co-Chair Vincent Callan and he invited suppliers and other hospitals to "get started" with a gap analysis on their existing data, which GS1 Ireland can support.

Group Photo SJH Project ParticipantseProcurement Whitepaper

At the event St James’s Hospital also launched their eProcurement Whitepaper titled: ‘Achieving World Class Patient Safety and Efficiency in Irish Healthcare’.  This is an excellent overview of the work that has been done to date in conjunction with suppliers. 

Next steps...

If you missed the briefing and would like to view the presentations or register for the Get Started webinars, please go to www.gs1ie.org/healthcare/breakfastbriefing