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UK takes centre stage at global GS1 healthcare conference

Date: October 26, 2017

Category: Industry news


UK-based healthcare experts and providers recently took centre stage at a leading global standards healthcare conference in the United States.

The 32nd Global GS1 Healthcare Conference was a four-day event between 17 and 19 October, attracting more than 330 healthcare industry leaders, regulators and solution providers from more than 40 countries.

The first day of the bi-annual healthcare conference, which took place in Chicago, was dominated by informative talks from healthcare providers, showcasing how GS1 standards in hospitals help drive efficiencies, savings and patient safety.

UK leads the way

Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the UK-based General Medical Council, took a starring role when he highlighted the important role GS1 standards have in supporting high-levels of patient safety and more generally, how they complement a culture of safety.

Representatives from a diverse range of UK-based NHS Trusts, including Derby, Leeds, Plymouth, Royal Cornwall and Salisbury, were also present, demonstrating how UK hospitals and pharmacies have been using information gathered from scans of GS1 barcodes on products, patients, caregivers and locations. 

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust reported an annual reduction of waste in its operating theatres, equivalent to the same cost as employing an additional five registered nurses
  • Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust showcased how they provide individual doctors with reliable data to fine-tune surgical procedures for improved patient outcomes and recovery. Bringing together all the improvements in patient care due to implementing GS1 standards, the Trust has forecasted annual savings of £2.7 million

A global perspective

But the conference wasn’t totally dominated by healthcare providers from the UK as international regulators also featured on the programme, including the US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ethiopia’s Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority, Turkey’s Ministry of Health and ANVISA and the Brazilian government’s health agency.

The FDA explained how the Unique Device Identification (UDI) regulation is increasingly being used throughout hospital processes with US-based healthcare provider Mercy, the fifth largest catholic healthcare system in America, explaining how it has been using UDI data to improve workflow in its operating rooms.

Betty Jo Rocchio, Mercy’s Vice President for Perioperative Performance Acceleration, said: “We’re working to optimise our inventory, ensuring that the products brought into the operating room are efficiently managed and that the costs per case are accurately captured.

“This is huge for us since it’s how we measure ourselves financially and, most importantly, document how we care for patients.”

Other items on the agenda included traceability of pharmaceutical drugs to combat counterfeiting, product serialisation and interoperability, as well as learning how a humanitarian organisation has been working with national authorities and suppliers to implement GS1 standards for capturing and sharing data about pharmaceutical drugs.

Award winning healthcare providers from Australia and Denmark

And to make the global healthcare conference truly memorable, Australia Capital Territory (ACT) Health in Australia and Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, were awarded GS1 Healthcare Provider Awards for outstanding examples of implementing GS1 standards.

ACT Health is using GS1 standards for patient identification to associate the correct blood samples with the patient, while Aarhus Hospital has implemented GS1’s data sharing standard, EPCIS, for tracking items throughout the hospital.

The conference was closed by Sorrel King from the Josie King Foundation, who shared the story of her daughter Josie, and reminded the audience of the need to improve patient safety to help focus on the patient and their family.


Healthcare conference

GS1 UK Healthcare Conference 2017

Bringing senior NHS and Department of Health leaders together to drive improvements in patient safety, clinical effectiveness and operational efficiency in the NHS in England