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February 12, 2016
GS1 IS GOING TO MAKE LIFE BETTER
By: Sara Ford

What will the NHS be like, once every patient is provided with a GS1 wristband upon admission and every consumable, implant or medical device has a GS1 barcode?

A whole lot better, and a whole lot safer.

The enhanced visibility and traceability of product information will fundamentally improve the effectiveness of patient safety processes. The vast majority of Trusts don’t currently have the capability to link products to patients. When a product is recalled, Trusts face a real headache trying to locate affected patients, or recall unused stock. By implementing the GS1 standards, and linking into appropriate systems, Trusts would have the ability to locate products immediately, and create a series of alerts; from flagging expired products to checking patient allergies at point of use.

Six sites have been chosen to demonstrate how GS1 would work within the NHS, and what benefits it would bring. Based on Accenture’s work with three of these, the improvements in patient safety from the adoption of the GS1 standards should also enable some immediate financial savings:

  • An estimated 3 percent reduction in the variable contribution of a Trust’s NHS Litigation Authority payment
  • A reduction in the hours-per-incident investigation and administrative time from a product recall or internal incident
  • Up to £750 saving per Adverse Drug Effect
  • Enhanced patient experience and satisfaction

The integration of the standards into patient administration and inventory management systems could enable analysis of individual product (and eventually staffing) costs per patient—and how this impacts length of stay and re-admission rates.

The challenge for Trusts is to communicate the benefits of GS1 adoption to clinicians. A great way to achieve this is through carefully selected demonstrators which provide an opportunity to engage with, and learn from, these torchbearers. The six Trusts will aim to demonstrate these benefits and provide tangible examples of the opportunity that GS1 presents.

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