St James's Hospital Scan for Surgery Programme (GS1 Healthcare Reference Book 2017) section picture

St James's Hospital Scan for Surgery Programme (GS1 Healthcare Reference Book 2017)

Leading global innovation in healthcare - a hospital wide approach to adopting GS1 standards

St. James’s Hospital has established the Scan for Surgery programme as well as introducing the automatic tracking of precious tissue samples. Both projects make use of GS1 standards-based technology to deliver improved patient safety and efficiency.

Download the Scan for Surgery Case Study

Scan for Surgery – a new era for patient-level data

St. James’s Hospital established the Scan for Surgery steering group in 2016 to work on achieving better visibility of activities at the point-of-care, for both patient safety and efficiency improvements.

SJH Scan for Surgery Steering Group

The hospital specifically looked at barcode scanning in the theatre, introducing technology to scan products and patients, which would:

  • Improve traceability which improves patient safety
  • Improve procedure cost analytics
  • Automate re-ordering, thus freeing up time for clinical staff who had traditionally been involved in the manual procurement process
  • Improve inventory management


St. James’s can now assign over 89 percent of the costs incurred in theatre to the individual patient, enabling patient-level costing, which is a key national programme for Irish healthcare. The hospital also estimates a significant reduction in the time spent to order products.

“Until now we had very little visibility on patient costs behind the red line in theatre. In most cases, there was no electronic record of what products were used on which patients. That has all changed now. Combining the data from Scan for Surgery with existing business intelligence tools, we can now see very detailed cost analytics at a procedure level, and we can easily trace products to patients in the event of a recall.”

John Cotter, Programme Director, Activity Based Funding, St. James’s Hospital

Better Data, Better Decisions

Pharmaceutical and medical device suppliers are being required by regulation to barcode products by 2019 and 2020, respectively, which will support traceability at the patient-level. The UK Department of Health is mandating that all Trusts and Suppliers implement GS1 standards, which is having a positive effect on the Irish market. Also, the importance of GS1 standards adoption is recognised at a national level by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Since 2016, the HSE has been requesting GS1 information on national tenders.

“This holistic approach for a hospital wide implementation of GS1 standards with a view to increasing patient safety and operational efficiency, is a key strategic objective for St. James’s Hospital. The imminent legislation for suppliers provides significant opportunity for wide scale change and benefits for Irish healthcare.”

Vincent Callan, Director of Facilities Management, St. James’s Hospital

Download the Scan for Surgery Case Study