Skip to main content


Rob Drag, Scan4Safety Programme Manager at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust explains that purchase to pay (P2P) isn’t just a financial process, it has a big impact on the patient journey and is at the core of running a hospital.

What was the problem?

P2P encompasses many processes, including master data management, inventory management and sourcing. Because it relies on so many factors, it’s easy for something to go wrong. Inaccurate orders, manual interventions, lack of traceability and visibility and other errors can all keep the P2P process from working effectively.

How was the problem solved?

Using barcodes can increase the efficiency of the P2P process, but only if it is implemented with all factors in mind: people, process and technology. There’s no point in telling people to ‘use the barcodes efficiently’, without looking at the process and explaining exactly how benefits can be achieved.

How were GS1 standards used to help deliver the solution?

Standards are the foundation to build on. They are the drivers of the P2P process and enable it to work efficiently and effectively. The GS1 standards being introduced at Salisbury, for example, include:

  • GDS (Global Data Synchronisation) for master data management
  • GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) to identify products
  • GLNs (Global Location Numbers) to identify locations

In line with Department of Health’s eProcurement strategy Salisbury are also implementing PEPPOL standards for procurement processes.

What are the benefits?

GS1 standards improve the efficiency of the process through:

  • Better understanding of the process
  • Reduced manual intervention
  • Improved supplier relationships

They also enable the provision of accurate master data, which increases visibility and enhances spend analytics. GS1 standards allow the Trust to track and trace items both in the supply chain and in the hospital, which results in clinical time that can be returned to patient care.

In short, GS1 standards decrease costs, while improving patient safety.

Read the full case study

Other success stories

Improving patient safety through surgical instrument tracking

Product safety recall – the view from the theatre

Improving inventory management


Inventory management

Medical equipment management

Delivering benefits globally

Patient identification for blood transfusion