The system put everyone and everything on the same page, providing an accurate, standardised picture of where equipment is at all times. It’s this simplicity which underpins the attraction of GS1 as an agent of change within the NHS, and the reason it’s been so readily adopted for fluent reporting and auditing.
This was certainly the case when the Care Quality Commission visited the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University NHS Trust.
They knew drastic changes had to be made – and fast. With the simplicity of GS1 standards, they were able to quickly and easily install a new, scannable health records system. As well as improving the rate at which patient records were updated and logged, it generated a quality data trail that could be tracked in real time, while being consistently updated at the exact point of care.
The pattern here is clear. As a universal language, GS1 consistently offers a precise picture of what’s going on in any given trust, at any given time. Therefore, any changes in regular patterns or statistical outliers can be immediately flagged and addressed. As well as improving efficiency, this level of detection offers a level of security and safety.
The World Health Organisation, for instance, estimates that up to 10 per cent of all medicines globally are counterfeit.
As a result, the European Parliament introduced legislation requiring every pack of prescribed drugs to be barcoded so products can be checked and verified at all stages of the supply chain. That way, products cannot be reused or falsified.
Following on from this, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ran a pilot scheme to identify where medicinal counterfeiting can take place. Using GS1 standards, they were able to model a series of best practices to help health services eradicate these potentially dangerous drugs from entering their systems.
Overall, GS1 isn’t only helping the NHS to transform itself, but turning our health service into a catalyst of change and global innovation.