The global GS1 Healthcare User Group (HUG) has officially announced that it will use GS1 standards exclusively as the basis for its automatic product identification developments, including bar codes and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Over the course of the next 18 months, the group's members will promote the application and implementation of GS1 standards in the healthcare sector.
HUG is a voluntary group formed a year ago by 40 leading pharmaceutical and medical devices companies, wholesalers, hospitals and trade associations from around the world. Its primary objective is to enhance patient safety worldwide through accurate and standardised product identification.
Accurate product identification is crucial to patient safety to:
. avoid medication errors by ensuring that the right drug is delivered to the right patient
. prevent the use of counterfeit drugs and medical devices
. allow the traceability of medical products
While the primary focus is on developing global standards for automatic product identification, HUG will also be working on other topics including serialisation, medical catalogues, data synchronisation, classification and e-commerce, to make the healthcare systems safer and more efficient worldwide.
"The HUG was formed to develop global standards for automatic identification and to act as the leading voice for the healthcare industry," said group co-chair, Rich Hollander of Pfizer. "The group is developing universal healthcare application standards using the GS1 system."
Co-chair, Volker Zeinar of B. Braun, said, "Patient safety is a valuable matter which has to be protected and improved. The GS1 HUG wants to contribute with voluntary global standards."