Partner implementation of GS1 standards
To drive the implementation of GS1 standards for EDI in healthcare, partnerships should be created between the industry representatives implementing GS1 standards and the local GS1 MO. Companies implementing EDI may also request that their trading partners develop EDI capabilities.
According to GS1, creating a partnership and building trust with companies will take time. To create strong partnerships, in conjunction with industry stakeholders, GS1 MOs may provide support activities
for companies implementing standards. Examples include:
- Helping to draft relevant technical documents
- Providing input to trading partners’ communications about EDI
- Implementation developments
- Participating in joint information seminars
- Providing training to trading partners’ staff
- Providing telephone and email-based support for the companies
- Briefing EDI service providers to ensure GS1 standards compliant implementations
- Developing automated testing tools
All of these activities will help to ensure implementations comply with the requested standards.
Case Study: The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and GS1 Australia
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), the lead organisation supporting a national vision for eHealth in Australia, partnered with GS1 Australia to launch GS1 XML as the messaging format for their eProcurement solution. This is a nation-wide implementation of GS1 XML by the eight Australian state and territory public health governments and has since been leveraged extensively by the private sector.
NEHTA is an independent Australian government organisation that was chartered to drive and support eHealth reform in healthcare throughout Australia. Supply chain reform is a major NEHTA initiative, encompassing the creation of a National Product Catalogue (NPC), development of an eProcurement solution, and documenting a business intelligence strategy.
In 2006, GS1 Australia partnered with the NEHTA team to leverage the GS1 Global Data Synchronisation Network™ (GDSN®) as the NPC. Since then, the partnership has also developed and delivered industry services such as GS1 Locatenet for Healthcare for sharing locations identified with GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs) and GS1 Recallnet Healthcare, a recall management portal.
Consultation and submission
In February 2007, NEHTA issued the business document, Format Choices for Health E-Procurement – A Preliminary Evaluation. This preliminary review was designed to enable stakeholders’ submissions to the NEHTA initial finding that a non-GS1 EDI standard seemed to meet the public healthcare EDI requirements. The submission from GS1 Australia clarified a range of areas regarding GS1 XML functionality and support for the Australian Standard 5023. Following this activity, NEHTA then published its final evaluation in June 2007, finding that GS1 XML was the best choice for public health EDI in Australia.
The resulting NEHTA eProcurement solution is comprised of GS1 XML messages for purchase orders (POs), PO changes, PO responses, despatch advices, invoices and settlement advices. Additional messages such as the booking request/loan product consumption were added later to support healthcare
consignment stock processes. GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and GLNs are used to uniquely identify products and locations within messages.
NEHTA also specified the requirement for a “federated hub” model1 so that EDI service providers could exchange GS1 XML messages without interconnection fees. Suppliers and buyers participating in the EDI transaction are then able to choose a single EDI service provider, based on their business criteria, who can communicate GS1 XML messages to the EDI service provider of their trading partners.
Today, NEHTA states the key benefits from implementing the eProcurement solution, include2:
- “Interoperability between suppliers and purchasers
- Right Product – Right Patient – Right Time and Right Place
- Increased transactional accuracy
- Reduced order errors
- Improved compliance
- Improved payment times
- Timely information for improved purchasing and inventory management”
GS1 Australia worked with NEHTA to draft the technical Message Implementation Guidelines (MIGs) that were the basis of the roll out. Other joint activities between GS1 Australia and NEHTA included subsequent standards updates. GS1 Australia continues to provide expertise and support to healthcare providers and their suppliers as they implement EDI. Assistance and guidance has also been jointly provided to EDI solution providers that service the healthcare market in Australia.
In 2010, Western Australia was the first state to implement the NEHTA eProcurement solution3. Since then, the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have all developed GS1 XML capability with other states and territories as works in progress. Key players in the private healthcare sector such as Ramsay Health Care (Ramsay) have leveraged the work of the public sector, implementing GS1 XML as part of the NEHTA eProcurement solution. NEHTA has recently formed a working group to support the industry’s ongoing adoption of EDI transactions using GS1 XML as the core standard for continued supply chain efficiencies and reform.