The power of standards for patient care in England
Glen Hodgson, Head of Healthcare at GS1 UK, looks at how GS1 standards are delivering improved patient safety, enhanced clinical effectiveness and driving operational efficiencies in Acute Trusts in England
When the Department of Health’s eProcurement strategy was released in 2014, Acute Trusts in England were asked to start using GS1 standards to track every person, product and place within their hospitals, with a deadline of 2019/20 for compliance. A year later, six demonstrator sites were given a share of £12m by the Department of Health to show how this could work.
The six Trusts, now known as the Scan4Safety Trusts, are all due to complete the programme within the next six months, with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust being the first to complete in September this year. They’ve implemented GS1 standards across all three primary use cases outlined in the eProcurement strategy – inventory management, purchase-to-pay and product recall. In addition to their involvement in Scan4Safety, Derby have invested in their own GS1 initiatives including a rollout in theatres that will save them £3m in 2017/18. In fact, what the Scan4Safety programme has proved is that the savings across the entire NHS could be more than £1 billion. That’s what a business case submitted by the Department of Health earlier this year predicted, and they want to see four annual waves of GS1 implementation across the remaining 148 Trusts. It’s a saving that can’t be argued with.
But it’s not just about saving money. For patient safety, the benefits are crucial. By connecting people, products and places, Derby now know, at the push of a button, who did what to who, and where and when they did it. In the case of a product recall, for example, it would previously have taken Derby 50 hours to trace the patients affected. Now it takes just 30 minutes. It’s a vital improvement for patient care. This data also gives them the means to easily create individual patient costings, and compare procedure costs and times so that they can make their theatres more efficient. They have over 100,000 theatre episodes recorded so far – that’s a huge amount of clinical information they can learn from.
Derby’s experience demonstrates the power of standards for all Acute Trusts in England. They’re now at the forefront of healthcare providers across the world in the level of detail and traceability that they have around their patient care, and enable evidenced-based discussions on quality of their clinical care. They’re saving time that can be given back to care and saving money that can be put back into the Trust. The NHS is under increasing pressure to do more for less, and by using GS1 standards, the Scan4Safety Trusts will be doing just that.
For more information please visit www.gs1uk.org/healthcare