Implementing eProcurement at St James’s Hospital: Realization Steps

The first key requirement for St. James’s Hospital is the standardisation of product coding and alignment of product data with their suppliers at product setup stage. This needs to occur in advance of the ordering process. Completing this action ensures accuracy of the data between the hospital and the supplier. GS1 Ireland supported both SJH and the suppliers in this process.

Standardised product coding and master data

1. Assign GTIN The supplier determines if GTINs are available.
2. Map GTIN The supplier maps the GTINs to their product listing.
3. Collect Master Data. Master data elements such as product name, description and unit of measure are collected by the supplier in line with to the dataset agreed by SJH.
4. Upload Data to NPC. The master data is then uploaded to the National Product Catalogue.
5. Receive Data SJH receives supplier data and any subsequent updates from the NPC.
6. Review and Match Data Using the Product Information Management (PIM) tool, SJH reviews the supplier data and matches this data to the internal hospital data.
7. Import Data SJH then takes the data into their ERP system via a direct download from the PIM.

Standardised electronic procurement

This second requirement eliminates the paper based processes through automated electronic communication of the transactional data between the hospital and supplier. All messages are exchanged via the EDI partners in GS1 XML Standard format. For this process SJH engaged an EDI provider, Atlas Products, to facilitate the exchange of four key standardised procurement messages. GS1 Ireland was engaged to undertake the development of the procurement messages.


St James’s Hospital embarked on this exercise based on its belief that the best approach to delivering patient safety required an end-to-end process design and adherence to international standards. The benefits were known to be considerable and included:

  • improved patient safety with consequential reduction in duplicate patient procedures
  • increased ability for accurate traceability and recall
  • standardisation and increased accuracy of product information elimination of inefficient paperwork and duplication of data input
  • reductions in stock holdings and level of waste stocks
  • reduction in number of credit notes generated
  • automatic invoice matching
  • more efficient utilisation of supply chain management and finance resources.


The set-up costs for the implementation of this model mainly involved (i) SJH system modifications, (ii) the engagement of an EDI service provider and (iii) participation in the product catalogue. Ongoing systems costs are expected to be no greater than current system running costs and further savings are likely to be achieved as the system is extended.

Lessons learned and next steps

The learnings established during the project were used to develop the final dataset and business rules. The requirement for compliance to GS1 standards is now included in tenders and SJH is working to engage their key suppliers in this programme.

To learn more about EDI and become a CEDIAP® (Certified EDI Academy Professional), please visit our course schedule page.

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