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KSR Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2016


February 2011

Standard Practices


Questions can be e-mailed to: editor@hpnonline.com

Called in to Jeannie Akridge at:
(941) 927-9345 ext.202

Mailed to:

HPN Standard Practices
2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 315B
Sarasota, FL 34231

Putting standards into practice

by MJ Wylie, director of global data standardization, GHX

With the Global Location Number (GLN) sunrise date behind us and the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) sunrise date on the horizon, an increasing number of healthcare providers and suppliers are using global data standards to enumerate organizations, locations and products. While we continue to receive questions related to enumeration, we are beginning to receive more questions about how trading partners can work together to use standards in transactions and how various standards are expected to support participation in the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)Unique Device Identifier (UDI) initiative. This month’s column will address some of these emerging questions, including those related to technology preparedness, gaining access to suppliers’ GTINs and putting standards into action.

Transacting with organizational identifiers

QI read a case study about Mayo transacting with GLNs using its Lawson system. If I use Lawson, can I do the same thing as Mayo?

Transacting with Global Location Numbers (GLNs) through your enterprise resource planning (ERP) or materials management information system (MMIS) is not a flip of the switch process. Even if you are using the same kind of system, such as Lawson, you need to understand the capabilities of the version you are on, as well as whether the system is configured appropriately to transact with GLNs in place of or in conjunction with your suppliers’ proprietary account numbers. To do so, you must work through these issues with both your ERP or MMIS vendor and your e-commerce provider.

Gail Walsh, senior system analyst-procurement, Financial Information Systems, Boston Medical Center, addressed these issues at a recent GHX Industry Standards Users Group Meeting. According to Walsh, she and her team learned very quickly that they needed to update their Lawson system in order to transact successfully with GLNs. She stressed that it is critical that a provider work very closely with its MMIS or ERP vendor when implementing GLNs to ensure the proper configuration and to enable any necessary updates. She said it is equally important for a provider to collaborate with its e-commerce provider to ensure that its GLNs are accurately shared with suppliers.

QWe’ve enumerated with GLNs and prepared our systems to facilitate electronic and procurement transactions and are now trying to decide which suppliers we should start transacting with first. Any advice?

To ease the transition, start with suppliers who are already transacting GLNs with other providers. If they’ve done it before with other customers, they have some experience under their belts and can help you through the process of going live. Reach out to your suppliers and e-commerce provider to determine which suppliers fall into this category.

Also target your primary suppliers, focusing on your most trusted partners. Because larger suppliers typically have more complex business processes and multiple locations, they will likely require the most work, but working through multiple, complicated use cases will enable you to learn more in the process. As many will tell you, you cannot over communicate − so collaborate early and often. You can then take this knowledge and apply it to your transitions with smaller vendors. Your e-commerce provider is a key player in this process, so be sure to work with them in parallel as you transition new suppliers from account numbers to GLNs.

Product identification

QWhat is the value of using a standard product identifier?

Currently, healthcare suppliers, providers and other trading partners identify healthcare products in many different ways to meet their own individual needs. This makes it challenging to track products throughout the supply chain, which can increase errors, add costs and jeopardize patient safety. Industry standard identifiers provide a way for all trading partners to uniquely identify products from the point of manufacture to the point of use, minimizing errors, increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs and improving patient care.

QWho manages unique product identifiers?

GS1 US administers Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and the Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) administers HIBC-Labeler Identification Codes (LICs). Healthcare suppliers are responsible for enumerating their products with standard identifiers and both GS1 US and HIBCC have resources to support suppliers in this process. Suppliers can contact GS1 US through gs1us.org/healthcare or 937-435-3870 and HIBCC through www.hibcc.org or 602-381-1091.

QAs a healthcare provider, how do I gain access to my suppliers’ GTINs?

The most effective way in which to access suppliers’ GTINs is to subscribe to a certified data pool within GS1’s Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). Suppliers publish GTINs and other certified product information to a data pool via the GDSN so that providers and other authorized consumers can subscribe to receive the latest supplier data. If you are interested in subscribing to a certified data pool, you can review the list at http://www.gs1.org/docs/gdsn/gdsn_certified_data_pools.pdf

QHow do I begin using GTINs in business transactions with my suppliers?

You must evaluate your MMIS and/or ERP system to determine if it is capable of storing and processing the 14-character GTIN. The best way for you to answer this question is for you to ask your technology vendor.

QHow will providers and suppliers benefit from the FDA’s UDI initiative?

Through the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Unique Device Identification (UDI) rule, providers and suppliers will proliferate unique identifiers throughout their systems to ensure that they are identifying products in the same way. The FDA has indicated that both the GS1 GTIN and the HIBCC HIBC-LIC will qualify as unique device identifiers. There are a number of benefits that can be derived from this initiative.

The UDI system can improve patient safety by helping providers and suppliers facilitate product recalls, track and report adverse events and prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain. Syncing product data can also improve business processes. With access to more accurate product data, trading partners can gain greater visibility into their collaborative relationships and then use this knowledge to make educated decisions. For example, with enhanced visibility into product purchases, suppliers can better manage inventory levels and providers can gain greater control over their purchases.

QIf the FDA is allowing the use of two different types of standards, GTINs and HIBC-LICs, to identify products, won’t this cause confusion among trading partners and negate the intended benefits?

This is a common question but both standards are viable for uniquely identifying products in our healthcare industry. Here’s why. With the use of industry standards, whether HIBCC or GS1, a single unique number would be used to identify a specific product at a specific unit of measure, and that number could not be used to identify any other product. Because there is no duplication between HIBC-LICs and GTINs, you would not have this problem, as both standards continue to be used.


QWhat kind of support programs and materials are available from MMIS/ERP vendors to assist customers who are interested in adopting and using GS1 standard identifiers?

We posed this question to some of the leading MMIS/ERP vendors and received the following responses:

· Lawson: Lawson offers several resources, including:

o GS1 white papers and webinars

o Documentation available on mylawson.com including GLN-GTIN fact sheets and user guides

o Services and guidance to help customers implement standards

For more information, go to www.lawson.com/supply or Lawson customers can contact their client account executive.

· McKesson: McKesson’s Supply Chain Users’ Group holds an annual conference and a monthly call during which this topic is widely discussed. In addition, documentation on the setup and use of these new fields will be available with each product version release that contains new GS1 functionality (Horizon Enterprise Materials Management version 15.1 for GLN and Horizon Enterprise Materials Management version 16 for GTIN/GDSN/UNSPSC).

· MEDITECH: MEDITECH customers should contact their customer service representatives who can discuss what information is available to address their specific needs.

· Oracle PeopleSoft: Customers should visit the Oracle Healthcare Industry Users Group website and select "Files/GS1 Interest Group/GS1 PeopleSoft 9.1 PeopleBooks Reference Materials."    



         Clinical intelligence for supply chain leadership