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GS1 UK Healthcare Conference: Why standardisation really matters

The GS1 UK Annual Healthcare Conference 2016, which took place on April 12-13, was dominated by one central theme: how to improve operational efficiency, patient experience and safety through GS1 standard. Attended by more than 350 professionals from the healthcare sector, it has been hailed a great success.

Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for NHS Productivity, who was the keynote speaker of the event, highlighted the potential for transformation that the GS1 programme offers to NHS Acute Trusts. He said: “The NHS is an efficient system that can do better… barcoding standards will improve safety and give millions in savings.”

Conference speakers and delegates shared their expertise and experience on a range of topics including patient safety, regulatory compliance, operational efficiency, transparency, FMD legislation, sustainability and others. They all focused on the benefits of GS1 standards and how standardisation means more time for patient care, better understanding of costs, better comparison of clinical performance and enables variations in clinical practice to be exposed.

Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the General Medical Council emphasised that senior hospital doctors should engage in a leadership role in the GS1 programme as the data it provides can support better clinical productivity and improve patient care.

Representatives from all six GS1 demonstrator sites, whose implementation of GS1 standards is funded by the Department of Health, presented on what it means to be a demonstrator site, how GS1 standards improve patient outcomes, clinical effectiveness, efficiency, patient safety and finances.

Pat Mills, Commercial Director of the Department of Health led the call to action for the adoption of GS1 standards beyond the demonstrator sites. He explained: “The GS1 programme is incredibly important, especially in these times of great austerity, and will provide a way of liberating some of the millions of pounds invested every year in the NHS. The demonstrator sites will prove that we get this value for money but it’s through their implementation across England that a real difference will be made.”

Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare at GS1 UK, said: “We’re very proud that our latest healthcare conference was so well received and managed to showcase real-life best case examples of NHS Trust implementation of GS1 standards. During the two days we provided a unique environment for Trusts to share their experiences with other providers and discuss how we can all work together to make the NHS a safer and even more efficient organisation.”