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New global collaboration between GS1 and IHTSDO

Agreement ensures the organisations’ health information standards are complementary

London, 25 April 2016 – GS1 and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) announced the signing of a new collaborative agreement that supports interoperability in health information systems globally. The agreement between GS1 and IHTSDO follows an initial memorandum of understanding the organisations signed in 2010.

GS1’s Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) are global standards for automatic product identification (through barcodes), used for patient safety and traceability. IHTSDO’s SNOMED CT is a global standard that ensures semantically accurate clinical terminology for consistent use across health systems and services. Ensuring that these two standards can work together will facilitate the link between clinical information in the patient record and the correct product administered to the patient at point of care, enabled by barcode scanning.

Don Sweete, CEO at IHTSDO, said: “We are excited about building on our previous collaborative efforts with GS1 through this new work. This new agreement focuses on concrete projects for linking GTINs and SNOMED CT further support those in the delivery of care to patients and start to demonstrate benefits as early as next year."

There are four main areas of collaboration specified in the new global agreement, which runs until June 2017:

  1. Develop guidance/principles for linking SNOMED CT and GTINs that can be applied at the national/local level
  2. Explore options, feasibility and benefits for a technical solution/model at the international level to support local/national linkage between SNOMED CT and GTINs
  3. Conduct joint communications about IHTSDO and GS1 standards working together
  4. Explore options for education across healthcare communities based on feedback from subject matter experts, but likely focused on GS1 and IHTSDO products and services and collaborative activities

Miguel Lopera, CEO and President at GS1, said: “The use of GS1 global standards for product identification and data exchange is critical in addressing today’s issues in healthcare systems and will help ensure patient safety by appropriately linking patient information with accurate product information in all Electronic Health Records.”

Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare at GS1 UK, said: “This new collaborative agreement between GS1 and IHTSDO supports interoperability and simplifies the process of linking clinical and product information with patient data within electronic patient records. This will strengthen the global adoption of GS1 standards along the patient pathway to further improve patient safety, increase operational efficiencies and provide greater regulatory compliance.”

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About GS1 UK

GS1 UK is a community of over 29,000 members working in retail, foodservice, healthcare and more. GS1 UK is one of 112 independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating across 150 countries worldwide. GS1 UK helps everyone involved in making, moving and trading goods, automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.


The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) is owned and governed by 28 international members. We are a not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of the healthcare system and provides full support to our global members and licensees, ensuring that our combined resources achieve significant shared benefits that resonate around the world.

We own, administer and develop SNOMED CT, a commercial product that enables us to establish semantically accurate clinical terminologies for consistent use across all health systems, services, and products in the world. We strive to improve the health of humankind and are constantly seeking to determine global standards for health terms. We believe that the global healthcare community must safely, accurately, and effectively exchange health information in order to help patients everywhere.

For more information contact:

Annie Evangeli
+44 20 7092 3581