Global GS1 Healthcare Conference Attracts Record Number of Healthcare Stakeholders

The bi-annual global Healthcare conference organized by GS1 took place in the period October 21th -23th 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event brought in over 350 industry professionals from 43 countries to learn about the latest developments on the implementation of standards throughout the healthcare industry, to meet regulatory and customer requirements. The conference was a great success and the biggest in its history, with record breaking numbers of participants.

Mr. Nick Hækkerup, Danish Minister of Health gave the key address at the conference, covering the challenges industry is facing and how GS1 standards are helping healthcare professionals move the supply chain to safer and more transparent processes.

Lord Philip Hunt, UK Shadow spokesperson, President of the Healthcare Supply Association and President of the Royal Society of Public Health spoke on the latest developments from England’s NHS (National Health Services) eProcurement strategy, in which GS1 standards are mandated. Attendees were able to learn how the Department of Health’s new eProcurement strategy is an important element of a wide programme of work expected to deliver between £1.5 and £2 billion of savings by the end of 2016.

During the three days, diverse topics were covered; participants had the opportunity to learn about the latest updates on regulations from authorities and governments around the world; including Unique Device Identification (UDI), a system mandating labellers to mark and identify medical devices and submit requested product data to a central database and Serialization to permit pharmaceuticals to be tracked and traced to help prevent counterfeit product incursion into the supply chain. These systems will provide countless benefits and ultimately improve patient safety by facilitating recalls and adverse event reporting and provide a foundation for a global, secure distribution chain. They also offer a clear way of documenting device use in electronic health records and clinical information systems.

“The global GS1 Healthcare conferences are a platform for healthcare professionals from across the globe to network and share developments on the implementation of standards and regulations, the benefits they are seeing from this for patients and what the future holds next for the industry,” said Miguel Lopera, GS1 President and CEO. “One of the key topics discussed during the conference is the work on vaccines in the developing world, as recently the global vaccines community has begun to explore the potential of using GS1 barcodes in vaccine supply chains and the resulting benefits” further commented Mr. Lopera.

Further to GS1’s work to implement standardisation across the healthcare industry and following the report published by McKinsey & Company “Strength in unity: The promise of global standards in healthcare”, the organisation has been publically supported by over 60 global healthcare stakeholders as they expressed their strong support in a signed position paper endorsing the adoption of GS1 as the global standard best suited for their industry. Bernhoven Hospital from the Netherlands was the 60th organisation that signed the paper. “By using GS1 standards for medical devices we reduce the number of mistakes, we can carry out recalls very quickly and precisely, and we lowered our inventory massively” said Justin Bitter, Business Manager of the Operating Room at the Bernhoven Hospital.

The next GS1 Healthcare conference will be held in Mexico in April 2015 and will again cover a diverse set of the latest industry topics and developments.