This article appearing awhile back in SiliconRepublic.com out of Dublin carries the author’s name – Jim Bracken — but doesn’t offer his background or affiliation. In fact, Jim Bracken, the author of this Viewpoint entitled, “Curing the patient,” is the CEO of GS1 Ireland. The only major tip-off to that is the very last sentence of Mr. Bracken’s long and thoughtful perspective piece. He writes: GS1 Ireland’s standards for information transfer between and within healthcare organisations will provide a key building block for tomorrow’s more efficient health service.
At first, I was a little disappointed the article didn’t delve more heavily into GS1 label specific solutions and implications or the view as seen from GS1 Ireland. But then, Mr. Bracken has perhaps done a greater service to his readers. Rather than expend all of the feature’s real estate to promote GS1, he has taken the opportunity to site some views about the future of healthcare services and products that, quite frankly, should give everyone pause as they contemplate the need for global medical device and product standards.
In summary, he touches upon an aging population rapidly outnumbering those people he calls ‘economically active workers.’ He talk about longer life expectancies; the development of more treatments for newly discovered, diagnosed and treatable illnesses or conditions; rising treatment costs; new consumer demands and pressures to improve healthcare quality and access; and significantly greater consumer interest in medical outcomes. Rising public expectations, he says, are leading to more frequent and vocal criticisms.
Getting rid of paper documents, developing electronic patient records, using Internet connectivity to link more patients with doctors and clinicians… these and other helpful trends are identified by Mr. Bracken. As for GS1? In a rather veiled reference to the emerging global standard — in a classic of understatement — he writes: The adoption of technology is increasingly recognised as critical in the drive for increased patient safety, supply chain efficiency and the traceability of all medical devices and medication.