Around this blog, we frequently find ourselves amazed at what is — and, more the norm, what is not — reported about the GS1 initiative in healthcare for GS1 labeling, compliance, etc., by media outlets anywhere. Here’s huge news no one has reported on and we suspect that’s because no one fully percieves how this will cement GS1 compliance into every provider HCIT system. It comes from this important announcement about a collaboration between GS1 and HL7. The press release announcing this is very short on details, with tidbits such as:
Medication errors can be avoided by automatically matching product data to patient data. These standards also enable effective traceability and reduce counterfeiting, said GS1.
This is fascinating and hugely important, folks. It’s a potential game changer for the US Healthcare system and most people will never even know what happened. HL7 is the de facto communication standard for HCIT systems and is used for communicating patient data and things relating to patients (such as orders). If we now tie that standard for communicating patient data in with the standard for communicating medical and device product data — via the GS1 GDSN, GLN and GTINs — we have just rocked the world as to what’s possible.
This is major news of an infrastructure change in the world of HCIT that will occur whether or not providers and vendors realize they are adopting it (okay, maybe that’s a little over the top as there will be some database issues but the spirit of the statement, I believe, is true). It brings back to mind an earlier post where we argued about whether it was patient safety or efficiency that would first be elevated by GS1 labeling adoption. Hey, how about both?
EDIT ADD: I wanted to apologize if anyone is getting confused by my headline changes on this post. It’s just that no one is reading it and it’s big news. So now I’m trying to move into the headline why it’s big news! Obviously ‘HL7′ just isn’t known well-enough to get the job done!