National healthcare providers share product usage data

The Healthcare Transformation Group (HTG), a collaborative of Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic and Mercy, has performed product data analysis to determine specific product lines (based on volume) the group has in common.

“We have identified our top five suppliers’ product lines across all HTG members and the next step is to call for the quick adoption and application of GS1’s GTIN for each product packaging from sellable unit of measure to the unit of use,” explains Curtis Dudley, vice president of Integrated Business Solutions, ROi, supply chain management for Mercy.

Earlier this year, the HTG hosted a Summit with its Top 20 suppliers to collaboratively discuss how to move the healthcare industry forward with GS1© Standards adoption. Each supplier shared their plans and timeline toward adoption, and asked what product lines or manufacturing divisions they should focus on first in the adoption of standards in healthcare.

The HTG has launched a new website:, to serve as an online platform for sharing information and resources within healthcare supply chain management. The site includes a provider scorecard, which displays the progress of HTG’s implementation of GS1 Standards, as well as case studies and presentations involving HTG member systems’ work in data standardization. The site will also feature a supplier scorecard to help track the HTG’s Top 20 suppliers’ progress in standards implementation.
“We strongly believe that standards adoption in healthcare will support improved patient care,” explains James Francis, chair, Supply Chain Management and chief supply chain officer, Mayo Clinic. “The HTG is building the infrastructure needed to share information and incorporate key industry data to support initiatives in patient safety and recall management.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to issue a rule this year for its unique device identification (UDI) system for medical devices to facilitate adverse event reporting and recall management. Under the UDI system, medical device manufacturers will be required to assign unique identifiers to their devices, apply the UDIs to all levels of packaging and publish UDIs to a database, which will be owned and maintained by the FDA.

The HTG is advocating for GS1’s GTIN to be the UDI adopted by manufacturers.

“Currently, we don’t have a standard system across healthcare to record products used in patient care or to identify devices that have been implanted in patients,” explains Dr. Natalia Wilson, co-director of the Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium at Arizona State University. “Nor do we have a standard for inputting device information in clinical registries or for product recalls. It is essential that we move forward with adoption of UDI as the standard to address these important clinical issues.”

“Together with manufacturers and physicians, we can enhance the way care is delivered to patients,” says Gene Kirtser, president and CEO of ROi. “We recognize that sharing data and adopting GS1 Standards is critical to transforming clinical care.”

Hospitals and health systems must design internal systems to capture the UDI and associated attributes outlined by the FDA from external industry-wide databases. In addition, the health system’s internal systems must be integrated in order to bring the captured UDI information into the patient’s Electronic Health Record (EHR).

Deborah Templeton, vice president, Supply Chain Services, Geisinger Health System, adds, “Having access to consistent product information reduces safety risks for the patient. This is what we are focused on as the HTG shares data, and adopts one standard, GS1’s GTIN.”

“Without standards, it is difficult and time consuming to identify medical products and devices that have been used on patients,” says Laurel Junk, vice president, Supply Chain, Kaiser Permanente. “This is especially challenging in an emergency situation, when time and accurate product information can be critical to a patient’s recovery.”

Brent Johnson, vice president, Supply Chain, Intermountain Healthcare, adds, “It’s time for healthcare to move forward in adopting GS1 standards. We are at a place where together we can implement consistent standards to promote efficiency, reduce costs and enhance patient safety.”


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