How to overcome GS1 EDI and global standards implementation barriers
There are a few barriers when it comes to companies adopting GS1 EDI standards. Healthcare companies not aware of the benefits. Today, many pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, as well as wholesalers and distributors leverage global standards for data exchange. More and more hospitals and retail pharmacies are also starting to realise the benefits as GS1 standards become a foundation for collaboration. This collaboration in turn drives capability to implement new processes, which benefit all parties in the trading relationship including ultimately, the patient.
- More effective inventory management resulting in awareness of product availability across trading relationships
- Automation of transactional data sharing, removing the need for manual data entry and resulting error correction, reducing costs.
- For more information about the benefits, review the EDI in Healthcare Value Proposition in the previous pages.
Why move to EDI? After all, email is easier
Indeed, both are computer-to-computer exchanges and both use an electronic mailbox. However, email messaging format is not based on a standard. Email requires a human interface and is not acceptable to applications; whereas, EDI requires standard message formats between trading partners. The ability to send business documents between machines simplifies and expedites the business process. Many healthcare companies choose EDI as a fast, inexpensive, and safe method of sending purchase orders, requests for quotations, quotations, invoices, payments, and other frequently used business documents.
Standards are a necessary and important part of EDI communication. Every business has application files that are used to manipulate their data in ways that are familiar to the business. The problem is that most businesses, even using the same types of data, do not use the same application programs or hardware and software platforms. If businesses need to be able to communicate data to one another, they must have common ground to allow the exchange of information. Standards provide the solutions to this problem. All businesses that conform to specific standards can share data in the formats delineated by those standards.
This is where GS1 EDI standards come in
GS1 standards are the best choice for linking healthcare organisations in the private and public sectors. Users receive support from their local GS1 MO in their own language, according to their local business needs.
- GS1 has 40 years of experience in standards for supply and demand chains worldwide
- GS1 EDI standards provide solutions for multiple healthcare stakeholders
- GS1 EDI development is based on an organised process
- The development and modiﬁcations of GS1 standards follow a rigorous, well-documented change management procedure: the Global Standards Management Process (GSMP)
- Each GSMP step includes broad user involvement and is validated by users regarding the relevance of the change and commitment to implement
- The ﬁnal solution is checked for compatibility with other GS1 standards and approved by the users.
Existing business processes built around sluggish paper handling may not be suited for EDI and would require changes to accommodate automated processing of business documents. The full implementation of GS1 EDI messages for the order to cash process can help solve this problem. Despatch and receiving advices, combined with the scanning of healthcare products during despatch and receipt, help to generate an invoice based on products that have actually been sent and accepted.
Cost in time and money
The preliminary expenses and time that arise from the implementation, customisation and training can be costly and therefore may discourage some businesses. Some of GS1 Member organisations have developed cost and savings calculators that demonstrate that using GS1 EDI in Healthcare brings competitive advantages.
The key is to determine what method of integration is right for the company which will determine the cost of implementation. For a small healthcare company or supplier that only receives few orders per year from a hospital of pharmacy, fully integrated EDI may not make economic sense. In this case, businesses may use an inexpensive solution such as web EDI provided by EDI solution providers.
To learn more about GS1 EDI and become a CEDIAP® (Certified EDI Academy Professional), please visit our course schedule page.