GS1 conference looks to identify unique devices

Top speakers from the Asia-Pacific region have been added to the list for the upcoming GS1 Global Healthcare Conference, to be held in Sydney from March 20 to 22.

Speakers include SC Chiang, senior pharmacist with the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA), Richard Medlicott, chairman of the New Zealand Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO), and Chikayuki Ochiai, CEO of the MTT Medical Centre in Tokyo.

The conference will feature discussions on unique device identification, data synchronisation, eMessaging and electronic product recalls.

The US Food and Drug Administration will soon launch a unique device identification (UDI) system that will require the label of a device to bear a unique identifier and allow users to identify the device throughout the supply chain.

The measure, required by a law signed in 2007, is expected to improve patient safety by helping to identify counterfeit products and allowing medical and nursing staff to distinguish between devices.

It is also hoped to improve product recall processes and help auditors trace problems in the case of clinical error.

Jay Crowley, the FDA's senior adviser for patient safety, will provide an update on progress in implementing the system. While the organisation is looking at a number of options, GS1 identifiers are thought to be the preferred option by leading users.

Richard Jones, GS1's industry manager for healthcare in Australia, said GS1 had devised a numbering and identification system, including barcoding, which met the FDA's specification.

A number of sessions are being held on UDI, which may be adopted worldwide once the FDA has finalised its system. Volker Zeinar, global coordinator for automatic identification affairs with device maker B Braun, will discuss how suppliers are gearing up for UDI, while Fiona McCormack, senior devices assessor with Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), will discuss trends and developments in medical device identification.

Mukesh Haikerwal, clinical lead for the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and chairman of the World Medical Association Council, will discuss patient safety and unique identification from a clinical perspective.

Also on the agenda is GS1's global data synchronisation network (GDSN). According to Mr Jones, this is a design and build network that allows for a number of interoperable databases to be built to global standards so information can be shared.

An example is Australia's National Product Catalogue, which was devised by GS1 and NEHTA and endorsed by all healthcare departments in Australia. GS1 hosts the NPC and assists suppliers and purchasers to use the catalogue.

Megan Main, CEO of Health Purchasing Victoria (HPV), will discuss how her organisation has implemented GDSN in an environment comprising multiple versions of many systems.

“Organisation like HPV are dealing with a variety of different suppliers, both large and small, running a variety of systems,” Mr Jones said. “To be able to integrate with those systems, they realised very quickly that you need standards to support that, and that's where GS1 comes in.”

Also on the agenda is eMessaging, with a series of sessions covering the use of GS1 XML, a standard file format for the exchange of business documents for the supply chain. GS1 has a cooperative agreement with HL7 to investigate how the movement of goods and products can be integrated with HL7's messaging protocol for clinical documents.

Rory Carroll, head of supply chain at Novartis, will discuss how it is implementing implementing GS1 standards for eMessaging and driving industry collaboration.

GS1 is also working towards developing a version of its RecallNet system for healthcare. RecallNet was launched six months ago in association with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for the grocery supply chain, and GS1 and the TGA are looking at how it can be implemented in healthcare.

“The workflow and that sort of thing is pretty much identical [to the grocery industry], but we need to make sure we have the right data for a healthcare recall,” Mr Jones said.

“We are going to show what we are doing in grocery [at the conference] and we intend to set it up in healthcare, but it's not there yet. Initially [a recall] would go to jurisdictions as the next link but the long-term goal is to have it go right down the chain, possibly even to consumers ultimately.”

Mr Jones said a particular highlight of the conference would be a case study by Feargal McGroarty, a project manager with the National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders at St James Hospital in Ireland. The centre has implemented a traceability system for medical products and devices used by people with haemophilia that has led to better business processes.

“They are able to get full traceability on what products are going to each patient and they are also better able to manage the supply to each patient,” Mr Jones said.

“It's a real success story and an excellent demonstration of how quite a dry subject like barcoding has a significant impact on the community and significant benefits to clinicians, care givers and patients.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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