October 22, 2007 - In a major step aimed at making healthcare more affordable while strengthening patient safety and outcomes, the Healthcare Supply Chain Standards Coalition is calling for industry-wide adoption of organizational and product identifiers from GS1, an international organization dedicated to designing and implementing supply chain standards.
Specifically, the Standards Coalition, a collaborative of 28 organizations representing the entire healthcare supply chain, is endorsing GS1ï¿½s Global Location Number (GLN) for organizational identification and its Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) for product identification.
"We have the opportunityï¿½and truly, the obligation, as an industry - to transform how we do business," said Joseph Dudas, Standards Coalition co-chairman and Mayo Clinic's director of accounting and supply chain informatics. "With universal standards, every supply chain participant will be able to identify every organization and every product the same way. This is a monumental step forward from our current state, where trading partners record organizational and product information differently and often manually, leading to tremendous inefficiency, waste, and inaccuracy, as well as countless opportunities for error."
To reach its endorsements, the Standards Coalition spent the past year scoping the business problems, collecting industry input about identifiers, and evaluating standards options. As part of this effort, it conducted a survey that found 69 percent of 129 respondents were considering adopting an organizational identifier. Almost two-thirds said they were considering adopting GS1ï¿½s GLN.
To move the industry toward adoption, the Standards Coalition is actively working with GS1 to enhance its standards to meet healthcare's needs. The Standards Coalition is also recommending GS1's Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) serve as the healthcare industry's system for registering, validating, disseminating, and synchronizing product identification information.
The Standards Coalition plans to shortly introduce implementation road maps for supply chain participants, including providers, manufacturers, distributors, and group purchasing organizations. The Standards Coalition also has launched a Web site, www.hscsc.org, for healthcare organizations to learn more about the standards and other industry and government initiatives related to standards adoption and implementation.