GS1 standards increase patient safety, provide security against counterfeiting and provide more efficient and secure product supply chains.
health care

The primary task of the healthcare sector is to treat patients and ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment and right medicine in the right dose according to the right diagnosis. Despite this, a patient can be given the wrong treatment or medicine because the patient has been linked to the wrong chart, samples, x-ray pictures or medicine.

The benefits of GS1 standards in Healthcare

By identifying and labelling patients, pharmaceuticals, samples, care providers and beds with barcodes or RFID tags according to GS1 standards, the healthcare sector can significantly increase patient safety. When a patient is automatically linked to the correct treatment, there is a reduced risk of getting the wrong medicine or dose, being given blood of the wrong group or undergoing the wrong surgical procedure.

Here are some examples of how GS1 standards can be used to improve patient safety:

  • Verifying a patient’s identity by scanning the barcode on their wristband.
  • Automatic matching of patient with correct diagnosis, treatment and medication.
  • Tracking samples and blood.
  • Dispensing drugs with the help of a robot.
  • Registering the item number and serial number of an implant in a patient’s chart.
  • Tracing individual instruments from sterilisation to patient.
  • Protection against drug counterfeiting through traceability of each unit dose, package or case, from manufacturer to end user.

Standards in use

Pharmaceuticals and medical products are identified by GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), goods to and from the healthcare provider with Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC), the facility with Global Location Number (GLN), and hospital equipment with The Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI). These can then be transferred to RFID and GS1 Datamatrix which can hold a larger amount of information such as item number, use-by date, production date and serial number. RFID also provides the possibility of quick identification and reading from longer distances, saving time.

Rules and guidelines

e-Verification for prescription drug packaging

The pharmaceutical industry, with LIF (Pharmaceutical Industry in Sweden) as the driving body, has decided to use GS1 standards for the identification and labelling of products. From February 9, 2019, prescription drugs should be uniquely identified by serial number and marked with GS1 DataMatrix.

When pharmacies then scan the products at their checkouts points, an automatic reconciliation is made against data from the supplier to make sure that counterfeit pharmaceutical packaging does not get out on the market.

UDI for medical products and
In-vitro diagnostic products

Unique Device Identification (UDI) is a method for marking and identifying medical devices.

IMDRF (International Medical Device Regulator Forum) has developed requirements that the USA introduced in 2013 and that resulted in two EU regulations – Medicintekniska produkters förordning (MDR) och In-Vitrodiagnostik förordning (IVDR). The goal is a coordinated and consistent approach at global level, to increase patient safety and optimize patient care through coordinated legislation for UDI and by using global standards.

Be a part of the development of standards

At GS1 our standards are developed and maintained together with our customers. In our user groups you can be involved and influence our standards and processes. The groups are available at both national and international level and give us insight on how we can improve, mean while our participants are inspired, get an increased knowledge and a broader understanding of how our standards work.

Do you want to take GS1 standards, solutions and services into the future? Then you are most welcome to participate in our user groups!