GS1 Conference highlights global supply chain efficiency
10/04/2012 - Healthcare professionals from 33 countries gathered for the 21st Global GS1 Healthcare Conference in Sydney last week to advance the implementation of global supply chain standards and ultimately raise the bar on patient safety. Nicki Letts
A record number of more than 330 delegates attended the event, which was hosted by GS1 Australia in conjunction with the GS1 Global Office from Brussels, with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) as the Industry Partner.
Since its debut in 2005, this is the first time it has been hosted in Australasia.
"As a result of the collaboration between GS1 Australia, healthcare providers, manufacturers, distributors and trading partners, the healthcare industry has achieved great momentum towards the adoption of GS1 standards for supply chain efficiency and improved patient safety," Maria Palazzolo, GS1 Australia CEO said.
The record-breaking attendance is testament to the progress that the healthcare sector has made in Australia. GS1 identifiers and bar codes are currently used on 95 percent of dispensed medicines.
The sector has also made significant advancements in the roll out of the National Product Catalogue (hosted on GS1 Australia’s GS1net), electronic messaging, and recent developments with GS1 Recallnet, an online portal for recalls and withdrawals.
"The conference provided a forum for us to share these success stories with international healthcare professionals who are looking to improve their supply chain efficiency and patient safety," Palazzolo said.
"It also plays an important role in continuing this momentum in Australia too, by bringing together healthcare supply chain leaders from Australia and the world to share their experiences and develop long-lasting, collaborative relationships that will support them as they implement supply chain reform."
In Sydney, healthcare professionals heard first-hand examples of how GS1 standards can work and how they will ultimately improve the way they do business and improve patient safety.
Clinicians, suppliers, regulators, public and private healthcare buyers, and supply chain experts from Australia and abroad took to the stage to share their experiences and expertise on traceability, medical device identification, electronic messaging, electronic product catalogues and global data synchronisation.
Australia’s world-leading National Product Catalogue (NPC) was a highlight on the agenda. The system is one of the first in the world to focus exclusively on the needs of the healthcare industry and is endorsed by all state, territory and federal health departments. It is a single repository for product data about medicines, medical equipment and consumables.
Aligned with the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) standards, the NPC uses GS1’s standard identifier, the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), as the globally unique primary product identifier for every NPC record.
The number of NPC users has grown by more than 30 percent in the past nine months; it currently houses more than 230,000 GTINs for over 370 healthcare suppliers, such as Abbott Australasia and ArjoHuntleigh.
Speaking at the conference, NEHTA’s CEO, Mr Peter Fleming said: "The ability to store and share accurate, complete and up-to-date data on healthcare products traded between suppliers and healthcare delivery organisations is a critical, foundational component for Australia’s transition to an electronic health system."
"The Global GS1 Healthcare Conference was the ideal platform for us to share this information with suppliers and providers as they look to improve and standardise their business processes. We were honoured to be part of the event," he said.
State health jurisdictions, NSW Health, Health Purchasing Victoria, WA Health and South Australia Health, spoke on how they are currently using the NPC as a core strategy to improve the speed and accuracy of procuring medical products.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO, Chair of the World Medical Organisation and Head of Clinical Engagement in NEHTA, addressed how unique identification and bar coding of healthcare products and services can improve patient safety. In addition, Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) chairman, Dr Richard Medlicott, discussed why HISO has endorsed GS1 standards for New Zealand healthcare.
On the global stage, Grant Courtney from GlaxoSmithKline explored the topic of traceability from a supplier’s perspective; Jay Crowley, Senior Advisor for Patient Safety at the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), and Volker Zeiner from B Braun focussed on unique device identification (UDI); Mike Rose, Vice President of Supply Chain Visibility, Johnson & Johnson, shared the business case behind the company’s decision to adopt the GS1 standards for identification and product marking across their product range; plus more.
Delegates also learned about the advancements of healthcare specific services: GS1 Locatenet which provides a single and accurate source of Global Location Numbers (GLNs), and GS1 Recallnet which will provide an online portal to improve the speed and accuracy of therapeutic product recall and withdrawal notifications in the Australia market.
On the final day, participants attended a presentation from NSW Health about the operational application of NPC data within its organisation, then visited Clifford Hallam Healthcare (CH2) and Metcash sites in Sydney to see global best practice in action. Plus NEHTA hosted an invitation only international Government Healthcare Supply Chain Think Tank to examine best practice in electronic healthcare supply chain reform from global public sector agencies.
Company representatives who attended the conference included governmental bodies and regulators, healthcare providers, pharmacists, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers, logistics providers, industry associations and global GS1 member organisations.
To view presentations from the Conference visit www.gs1.org/healthcare/news_events/200412
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