You may recall that in July 2008, Premier’s Purchasing Partners division was the first group purchasing organization (GPO) to endorse GS1 standards. Yesterday they announced that 60 healthcare suppliers working with the Premier healthcare alliance have successfully synchronized standardized product data as of December 31, 2009, using 1SYNC™, a certified Data Pool in the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network® (GDSN®).
So why is this important to you? The reason this press release is important is historically deadlines are delayed or the commitment to enforce the standards is lost (ePedigree for example). In this case, Premier is holding the line, and being one of the largest GPO’s in the US, as they go, so will the industry.
And why should you be concerned? I’ve heard one story of a medical device manufacturer who took four years to convert from HIBCC to GS1 without outside assistance. No one has 4 years anymore. There are ways to speed up the process.
The news release announcing this milestone is full of good information about how and why these suppliers and Premier are advocating for GS1 in healthcare. But two short paragraphs stand out as being a succinct summary of the major points in the plainest of language:
Although a vast number of products in America, from peanut butter to light bulbs, have standardized and synchronized product data attributes — as well as bar codes, which facilitate product tracking — many proprietary systems remain in use for medical devices, and do not have the same standardized, synchronized and bar coded information. This means that patients today may face a significant safety risk. For example, a recalled medical device or product could inadvertently be used in treatment because of the inability to rapidly locate a recalled product in the hospital.
A critical element of data standardization is the ability for hospitals to synchronize product data with suppliers through the GDSN, a centralized repository of product identification numbers, dimensions, and other data. This interconnected, secure global network of databases works like a World Wide Web for the data. The GDSN also facilitates the sharing of this data among supply-chain partners in an automated, standards-based, electronic environment. In order to access the GDSN, organizations must first select a certified data pool. Premier selected 1SYNC, the GS1 US data pool.
The complete text of the Premier news release can be seen here.