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Healthcare Business Solutions
December 15th, 2014

A building block of better healthcare

A recent article in National Health Executive (NHE) discussed Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s efforts to introduce e-enablement across procurement and supplies. The trust’s goal is to create a more efficient procurement process and reduce costs. Efficient procurement is becoming a priority for many NHS trusts as pressure builds to decrease costs without sacrificing the quality of patient care.

Leeds’ strategy to create efficient procurement includes e-enablement as well as managing its stock through improved ordering and requisition systems while developing more transparent relationships with its suppliers. One of the components of the process was adopting GS1 data standards. Cook Medical’s Healthcare Business Solutions team has been working with Leeds to prepare for doing business under GS1 standards, a process that starts with ensuring both organisations have accurate data in their shared catalogues. Cook is currently integrating GS1 standards into our systems in the UK. All of our products currently carry a GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) barcode, and we have customers who are already using these barcodes to manage their stock. We’re excited about this, because we believe that data standards will be one of the key elements in creating a better healthcare system in the future.

In the same issue of NHE, our chief information officer, Chuck Franz, shared Cook’s experience with adopting GS1 standards, a process which started back in 2001. That process taught us that using the GS1 standards such as GTIN and Global Location Numbers (GLN) benefits the organisation in so many ways that it’s almost hard to quantify them.

Data standards, if adopted and used effectively by suppliers and providers, will create a solid foundation of efficiency and transparency that will help us to collectively build a better healthcare system. Data standards allow all of the organisations in healthcare to speak the same language when referencing products and locations. This reduces human error and repetitive work, saves costs, and allows hospitals to better manage their product inventory. During a time when all health systems are being challenged to do more with less, using data standards is one of the best ways to streamline business processes and free up resources to focus on what matters most: the patients.

However, it can be a daunting decision to adopt data standards. It requires time, investment and energy from a lot of different areas of an organisation. A lot of provider systems are facing this decision today, and we are supportive and willing to work with any organisation that is making changes to adopt data standards, no matter where it is in the process.

Chris Slater of Leeds Teaching Hospital said in the article that GS1 is a main building block in e-enablement. We couldn’t agree more. If you’re in the process of adopting data standards, or would like to learn more, we want to hear from you. Join the discussion on Twitter @CookHealthBiz.