Logistics News

Australian-first e-health supply chain directory goes live

Electronic location directory, connecting healthcare purchasers and suppliers around Australia, officially unveiled in Melbourne and Sydney

March 17, 2010

The first electronic location directory, connecting healthcare purchasers and suppliers around Australia, is being officially unveiled in Melbourne and Sydney this week.

The central registry, known as GS1Locatenet GLN Directory for Healthcare, will improve the speed and accuracy of supply transactions helping to reduce hospital operating costs and save lives.

The service is the result of an ongoing partnership between the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), which built the National Product Catalogue (NPC), with support from public sector health authorities, and GS1 Australia (www.gs1au.org), a member of an international not-for-profit standards and services organisation. GS1 Australia hosts the NPC.

The system was developed for Australia’s healthcare sector, to facilitate direct electronic communication between organisations wanting to source, supply and trace medical goods, equipment, devices and pharmaceutical suppliers from the National Product Catalogue.

Recognised internationally as a best-of-breed model, the location-based service is now available to all GLN users across all industries.

Similar to a telephone exchange, the database provides a definitive index of unique Global Location Numbers (GLNs) which are used to identify all legal, physical and operational entities in a supply chain, with unique identifiers to distinguish between locations such as purchasing and billing locations, shipping destinations, e-messaging addresses and hospital locations.

GS1 Australia Chief Executive Officer Maria Palazzolo says the application is the most advanced of its kind in the world.

“GS1Locatenet provides the foundation for the continued growth of the use of GLNs in the Australian healthcare supply chain. It is set to be used as a template by other GS1 organisations which represent healthcare stakeholders around the globe,” she says.

NEHTA’s Head of Strategy Andrew Howard says GS1Locatenet is a major breakthrough in the development of Australia’s national e-health system replacing current manual processes with a quicker, more accurate method of transacting with suppliers.

“Receiving the right products, at the right time and in the right location has enormous safety benefits for patients, as well as massive savings for the healthcare businesses involved,” he says.

“Every year, a number of patient deaths result from incorrect prescribing. Correct ordering and timely delivery can significantly reduce this risk.

“The electronic system also has major benefits inside a hospital making inventory management and distribution easier and improving traceability and recall procedures for sensitive goods, such as drugs.”

The National E-Health Transition Authority was established by the Commonwealth, sate and territory governments on July 5, 2005 to develop better ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information.

NEHTA is the lead organisation supporting the national vision for e-health in Australia; working openly, constructively and collaboratively with consumers, providers, funders, policy makers and the broader healthcare industry; to enable safer, higher quality, accessible, equitable, efficient and sustainable healthcare.

The NPC provides a central inventory containing packaging, pricing and product data for more than 70,000 medical and pharmaceutical items each of which is identified by a unique Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). Currently, more than 250 leading equipment and pharmaceutical suppliers provide product information to the NPC.

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