NHS Wales has agreed with the GS1 UK standards organisation to promote the adoption of its data communication standards in healthcare settings.
It has followed England and Northern Ireland in committing to adopt the standards, notably in the use of barcodes, to underpin traceability in the sector.
GS1 UK is one of 15 GS1 organisations operating worldwide. Its standards are used for items such as product barcodes and patient wristbands.
A Scan for Safety Wales Project Board has been set up to manage the roll out, which will initially focus on developing a national inventory management system to improve the traceability of healthcare products through the supply chain.
GS1 UK said this will provide greater control over stock, reduce the amount of waste and help to quickly identify defective products for recall – which contributes to patient safety.
Co-chairs of the project board, Dr Paul Buss, director of clinical strategy at Powys Teaching Health Board and Jonathan Irvine, director – NWSSP Procurement and Health Courier Services, said: “We are delighted by the commitment to adopt GS1 standards right across NHS Wales. This is a vital step – improving clinical safety for patients whilst simultaneously modernising our approach to the use and tracking of medical devices.”
Glen Hodgson, head of healthcare at GS1 UK, said: “Because GS1 standards are both system and device agnostic, any data captured can be shared effortlessly between systems and organisations. This is the key to improving the patient care journey – enabling access to accurate patient information in real time, irrespective of where that care was received.”
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