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

Healthcare and GS1

Healthcare needs to streamline its operations and enhance patient safety. GS1 standards assist the industry in identifying and capturing the information and supply chain. They enable the sharing of vital data about medications, samples, patients, healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, and much more.

The primary task of the healthcare sector is to ensure that correct care is provided to the right patient with the appropriate medication and dosage. 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.

Watch how GS1 UK is creating a safer, better value healthcare service.

The benefits of GS1 standards in healthcare

Efficiency and automation
Automatic matching of patient with correct diagnosis, treatment and medication. Dispensing drugs with the help of a robot.
2d-koder-inom-retail rätt information
Improved data quality
Registering the item number and serial number of an implant in a patient’s chart. Verifying a patient’s identity by scanning the barcode on their wristband.
Protection against drug counterfeiting through traceability of each unit dose, package or case, from manufacturer to end user. Tracing individual instruments from sterilisation to patient and tracking samples and blood.

Standards in use

GS1 standards for identification and capturing are most commonly used in healthcare.

  • GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) to identify pharmaceuticals and medical products.

  • SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code) to identify goods to and from the healthcare provider.

  • GS1 Datamatrix can hold a larger amount of information such as item number, use-by date, production date and serial number

  • GLN (Global Location Number) to identify healthcare facilities and delivery locations.


  • GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier) to identify hospital equipment.

  • RFID provides the possibility of quick identification and reading from longer distances.

  • UDI (Unique Device Identification) for marking and identifying medical devices.

The industry is in agreement

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. 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.

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 (Unique Device Identification) 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.

Contact us

Do you have questions about GS1 standards within the healthcare sector? By filling out the form, you will get in direct contact with the person responsible for healthcare at GS1 Sweden.

    Olivia Karringer, Client Manager, GS1 Sweden
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