Louisiana’s hospital system optimization via GS1 standards implementation: Basic Steps
Working closely with Cook Medical, FMOLHS went through a few basic steps to implement GS1 standards, specifically the Global Location Number (GLN) to identify locations and the Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®) to identify products. This process is now being replicated with other suppliers:
FMOLHS established its hierarchies and registered the GLN for its facilities. The information was shared with Cook Medical, which now uses GLNs instead of customer numbers created in house. Cook also shared their GLNs with FMOLHS.
FMOLHS tested all of its transaction points using GLNs. This step involved working with data translator partners to ensure EDI transactions were being processed using GLN information. FMOLHS coordinated efforts with its MMIS provider (Infor v. 9.1.03) to ensure that their software was able to accommodate GLN information. For now, this involved simply setting up a transaction table within the system. Future versions of the software will contain GLN and GTIN fields. FMOLHS conducted round trip order processing tests (successfully), and then implemented the orders live.
Cook Medical has assigned a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) for each of its products, and is now requiring customers to transact using GTINs going forward. FMOLHS received the GTIN for the items used, and loaded that information into the MMIS. The FMOLHS team verified that all the product attributes were accurate, and that the information in the hospital information system matched with Cook’s descriptions for consistency. Once all the records that contained GTINs were in the MMIS, FMOLHS was able to submit orders using GTINs. For four weeks, the FMOLHS team monitored every electronic order closely, and every single automated order was processed accurately.
The GTIN piece is very important, because it is through these transactions that FMOLHS is supporting FDA UDI. Capturing GTIN allowed FMOLHS to know where the product went once it was in the hospital, which improves patient safety, security in the supply chain (to prevent counterfeits, for example) and for potential product recalls. As hospitals launch initiatives to track patient outcomes and population health, knowing when and where a specific product was used and on which patients will become even more critical.
It is important to look at before/after scenarios to evaluate effectiveness of any business process change. To that end, FMOLHS has established benchmarks to assess metrics in the following areas:
- Accuracy in purchase order, invoicing and payment.
- Revenue reporting factors (charge accuracy, claims processing efficiencies, real-time product usage and consumption, automated replenishment, demand-driven supply chain, and point-of-use systems and processes).
- Inventory management (value of inventory on hand, reduction in inventory, re-labeling activities, recalls, expiration date management).
The journey to the Touchless Order has resulted in FMOLHS finally having a complete, accurate and up-to-date item file for our materials management processes. As FMOLHS embarks on this exciting transition with other partners, it does so knowing that the long-time healthcare ideal of a fully automated supply chain is now within reach. With the Touchless Order, what seemed like an unattainable vision just a few years ago is now a reality that the hospital experiences everyday. In short order, it could become “business as usual” for the healthcare system.
For those hospitals that have been hesitant or have been delaying their efforts for any reason, a significant lesson learned for FMOLHS is that as intimidating as implementation may seem at the beginning, the adoption of standards is completely “doable,” no matter the size of the hospital system.
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