It was another great turnout for GS1 Belgilux at their annual members gathering. The venue was once again Tour & Taxis, the superb and gigantic, 100 year old ex customs clearance and goods warehousing complex. The location’s historical significance reflected the importance of this three-day conference, as enterprises from all across Belgium and Luxembourg as well as The Netherlands were in attendance. The diversity of this conference truly amazed me, especially because the organiser’s were able to so effortlessly present content in Dutch (Flemish), French and English. Day 1 was dedicated to the Healthcare industry and Day 2 and 3 were split equally between General Forum, covering a multitude of topics, and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) industry.
LANSA decided to take a Gold level sponsorship at this year’s event, which has always delivered us great value in terms of networking, education and meeting people from various industries. We pulled in representation from our Amsterdam, Paris and London offices.
Day 1 #Healthcareday
The Healthcare Day hosted a fantastic agenda of speakers from across the industry that included representation from the GS1 Global Healthcare User Group, with Ulrike Kreysa, Vice President GS1 Healthcare GS1 Global, bringing us all up-to-speed on worldwide developments in Healthcare around the GS1 system. He provided a global view of how other countries are realising the benefits GS1 Standards are bringing to the healthcare industry. Then, Thomas De Rijdt, representing Pharmacy at UZ Leuven, talked about the advantages of scanning at point of care and how automatically matching product data to patient data can prevent medical errors. His message was simple, “The right dose of the right drug to the right person at the right time and in the right way.”
Leading us up to lunch were presentations delivered by Mike Rose, Chairman EFPIA and VP at Johnson and Johnson, and Jan Janssens, Customer Relations Manager at Pfizer. Mike talked about how manufacturers are managing international regulatory requirements and Jan walked us through a Serialisation project enabling drugs to be tracked and traced at an each-level through the supply chain. Identification to the level of the pill is the new hot topic for hospitals.
A common theme I found among all the morning presentations was ‘product data’. It’s really clear now, it’s not just data, it’s QUALITY data, it’s GS1 standards-based data running through every system, bringing about better patient outcomes.
It was Joan Cahill, Director, Packaging & Device Services at Pfizer, who had the job of revitalizing the audience after the carbohydrate-packed lunch. Joan discussed how Pfizer Ireland dealt with international compliance regulations and also how to keep your business in a ‘readiness state’ for future requirements.
GS1 Belgilux then took the stage to help the audience unravel all those cryptic acronyms that both the Healthcare industry and GS1 collectively share. Joke Op den Acker, Lead Data Manager GS1 Belgilux, did a great job explaining all those terms that can often have us talking Gobbledygook. Which leads me straight on to a well-known acronym EDI. Jan Janssens was back on stage accompanied by Pierre-François Demeuldre, CHU Liège, looking at how Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in the Healthcare supply chain can improve traceability. EDI enables the exchange of standardized business information to be sent between companies and ensures the ability to communicate efficiently and accurately using a common language.
Nearing the end of Day 1 it was time for the obligatory Panel discussion. This often awkward part of any event turned out, refreshingly, to be a great interactive session with interesting debate, conversations and observations over the benefits of product identification, data quality, and standardization.
And finally, before Jan Somers’s closing remarks, Frank Robben, General Manager, eHealth platform, presented eHealth for quality and continuity of care and patient safety. Here, Jan highlighted the key evolutions in healthcare such as in increase in ‘chronic’ and ‘remote’ care, the importance for electronic communication as a means of improving the quality of care, and the key objectives of the eHealth platform.
You think Day 1 was chalked full of energy and excitement, wait till I tell you about Day 2. Stay tuned for more coverage of my experience at GS1 Belgilux Forum 2015!