LANSA was once again proud to be supporting GS1 UK at their annual Healthcare Conference in Holywell Park, Loughborough University on the 9th and 10th of June. As with last year’s event, LANSA was a Silver sponsor. We made the most of the two-day conference in terms of networking and promoting our newest PIM offering – SyncManager – a SaaS solution designed to validate product data against UDI rules, eProcurement requirements and GS1 Standards (but more on that later).
The attendance was in excess of 250, with an audience made up of healthcare professionals representing medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and NHS Trusts1 from across the UK. All of whom had one thing in common – to learn more about the new approaches and initiatives to deliver efficiency savings and improved patient safety through the implementation of the eProcurement strategy.
For those who are not aware, in April 2014 the Department of Health mandated the use of GS1 standards within their eProcurement strategy document, which is part of the NHS Procurement and Efficiency Program in England. In the report Dr. Dan Poulter MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, stated that the NHS eProcurement strategy will:
“Establish the global GS1 coding and PEPPOL2 messaging standards throughout the healthcare sector and its supporting supply chains. Compliance with these standards will enable Trusts to control and manage their non-pay spending, by:
- The adoption of master procurement data;
- Automating the exchange of procurement data;
- Benchmarking their procurement expenditure data against other trusts and healthcare providers.
To further elucidate the government’s stance on improving efficiency, Lord Carter of Coles recently produced an interim report where he highlighted the “simple steps” being implemented in order to save the NHS in the region of £5bn a year. A staggering amount, and even more impressive when the steps being referred to include improved staff organization and a better approach to purchasing – rather than any drastic cuts.
So where does GS1 fit in? In the words of GS1 UK’s Head of Healthcare, Glen Hodgson, “The adoption of GS1 standards allows for the unique identification of every person, every product and every place across the whole NHS.” The end goal is to improve levels of efficiency across the NHS. This was indeed confirmed by Lord Carter in his report as he stated, “The introduction of GS1 and PEPPOL standards will allow every NHS hospital in England to save on average up to £3 million each year while improving patient care.”
So without further ado, onto the conference!
The focus of Day 1 was to highlight the latest developments of the eProcurement strategy and how it is being implemented throughout the NHS. Industry experts such as John Warrington, Deputy Director of Procurement Policy and Research at the Department of Health, explained how GS1 standards provide the foundation for integrated patient care in the NHS by enabling the globally unique identification of each person, product and place.
Glen Hodgson opened the 2015 conference by drawing the audience’s attention to his distinctive, Easy Jet-esque orange tie! It became immediately clear though that he wasn’t actually seeking fashion admiration as he drew the attention of the audience to his colleagues at GS1 UK, who were also sporting orange neck attire. The purpose of this was to allow attendees to easily locate the GS1 experts if they had any questions or required assistance throughout the conference – a nice touch of colour, however, also a great and simple way of implementing a process to improve efficiency as it allowed people to locate a GS1 UK member simply and quickly (…do you see what I did there?).
Nishan Sunthares, Chief Operating Officer at the ABHI (Association of British Healthcare Industries) was next on stage to provide an industry view on the NHS eProcurement strategy. Nishan began by suggesting the key is “driving change” – both technical changes such as barcoding and product labelling through the adoption of GS1 standards and also behavioural changes to ensure a level of trust and mutuality between the industry and NHS. Therefore these two elements of the “supply and demand side equation” need to work towards the same channel of readiness.
Nishan concluded by sharing some interesting findings from a recent ABHI member survey, highlighting further the eProcurement view from the industry:
- No standard blueprint to implementation
- People are working at a difference pace – from large to small companies – so it is critical to get in sync with the NHS.
- Hand-holding and sign-posting needed
- People are interested in what is going on, however need more guidance. There is a real thirst for information.
As Silver sponsor LANSA had the opportunity to wow conference attendees with something new at one of the delegate lunchtime sessions. During the session Eugene King, LANSA Consultant, performed a full demonstration of our new Cloud-based product information management (PIM) solution – SyncManager – to show how manufacturers can capture medical device product data, enrich it to meet regulatory and trading partner requirements and share that data with trading partners using the GDSN. For more information visit www.SyncManager.com.
After a spot of lunch it was back to the conference agenda. The afternoon focussed on the use of different applications and how using GS1 standards have been implemented throughout the NHS and beyond. There were some fantastic interactive workshops where the audience were able to question experts about the benefits they have realised and the challenges they faced, including an excellent talk by Tania Snioch, Global Healthcare Director at GS1 Global, who updated the audience on what is happening regarding the wide-spread adoption of GS1 Standards in Australia.
Day 1 closed with an inspiring talk by Robert Flack, CEO of Locala, who are a Community Interest Company (CIC) that deliver NHS services, working closely with local GPs, Social Services and other local NHS organisations to deliver care and support to hundreds of patients a day.
Robert discussed how the use of technology is helping to improve efficiency in their own processes, ensuring the care that patients are given is delivered quickly and cost effectively. A great example was with the deployment of Skype for Business by Microsoft that is used for connecting a number of healthcare professionals on live web-calls, ensuring a speedy diagnosis and plan of action for how to treat and what medicines should be prescribed to patients.
A more humorous anecdote was centred around YouTube and Ken Dodd…yes, a strange combination but really it was the touching story of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who, for some time, had refused to eat her meals, hindering her health even further. However when the nurse suggested a reward of 20 minutes worth of Ken Dodd YouTube videos (she was a big Ken Dodd fan, in case you didn’t guess!) the patient had no more problems at dinner. What an ingenious way of using technology – and a free service at that – to assist a typically difficult and time-consuming procedure.
Day 2 opened up with some equally thought provoking topics with a great speech by Ashley Brooks, NHS National Patient Champion.
The theme of Day 2 was how to drive sustainable patient safety improvements by leveraging data and technology to transform outcomes, and Ashley’s story certainly outlined the importance of maintaining consistent, synchronised practises to ensure patient safety.
Ashley suffered from leukaemia, however, thanks to some expert care at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London where he was a patient for a number of years, he went into full remission. However, after a routine check-up at another NHS hospital where the practises and level of patient care did not meet the same level at St. Barts he contracted MRSA and his life was endangered once again. The important questions raised included, if the NHS is supposed to be a regulated national institution, why are there such a difference in the level of patient care and safety from one hospital to the other? Again, it goes back to the idea of efficiency – if there are a strict set of processes that are adhered to, the level of care will improve while mistakes and errors, such as the awful incident experienced by Ashley, can be prevented.
The final talk of the day to wrap up the conference was presented by Feargal McGroarty, National Haemophilia System Project Manager, St. James’s Hospital in Dublin.
Using the GS1 mantra of Identify, Capture, Share, Feargal gave a user case-study of how the haemophilia department at his hospital implemented GS1 Standards to ensure the patient gets the best possible care while at the same time driving down the cost of healthcare delivery.
With severe haemophilia over 75% of patients self-medicate from home, so the lack of prompt response can lead to prolonged hospitalisation, decreased quality of life and misuse or wastage of expensive plasma and recombinant products. Failure of an effective supply can therefore lead to patients being infected with Hepatitis C and HIV due to contamination – and in Ireland alone over 70 people died as a result of this.
The solution was to deploy a unique GS1-based barcoding and labelling system – adopting the retail track-and-trace model – that enabled validation, home/hospital tracking and validated cold chain (temperature controlled) delivery:
- Unique identification (barcode) of patient – PMGSRN
- Unique identification (barcode) of medication – Serialised GTIN
- Unique identification (barcode) of locations (Hospital/Home/Pharmacy/Transport) – GLN
The key takeaways from the presentation, and a fitting way to round off an excellent two days, were:
- Measures need to be implemented to ensure patient safety
- Measures need to be implemented to improve Supply Chain efficiency
- Measures need to be implemented to drive down the cost of Healthcare delivery
- Barcodes work
- Technology and standards already exist to help improve patient safety and reduce supply chain costs
1 NHS Trust – An NHS Trust is a legal entity, set up by order of the Secretary of State under section 25 of, and Schedule 4 to, the National Health Service Act 2006, to provide goods and services for the purposes of the national health service.
2 PEPPOL – Pan European Public Procurement On Line. Enabling automated, machine-to-machine purchase order and invoice transactions, creating efficiency and quality benefits for all.