Traceability In Healthcare

GS1 Healthcare Case Study: Improving patient safety through traceability initiative

Sanatorio Güemes is a 522-bed private hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that has established best practices regarding patient safety and quality of care. The hospital has implemented processes and policies to enable electronic medical records and improve inventory management, and are meeting many requirements of the National Traceability System as a result. These new processes improve four key areas that the hospital identified as crucial for capturing traceability data for pharmaceuticals: receiving, repackaging, distribution and administration. Successful implementation requires a multidisciplinary approach, and is dependent upon internal support of and belief in standardisation, not only from hospital management, but also from each staff member responsible for the facilitation of data in the supply chain.

The hospital set out to automate the stock management for all drugs, including those received directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers or distributors, and those that come from different health insurance companies or social welfare organisations. In addition to working on the automation of stock management, the hospital looked to improve its capability to trace drugs internally. Further it developed a tool that could electronically capture all documentation and information related to each drug it received. The system verified the expiration date and origin with the commercial documentation provided. Working on ways to improve and automate stock management helped the hospital prepare for ANMAT’s compulsory National Traceability System. During its automation and process improvements, the hospital identified four areas that are important to capturing traceability information: y Receiving y Repackaging y Distribution y Administration The data (GTIN and serial number) associated to the secondary package of each drug is captured at each of the above steps, building the foundation of the traceability system.

Implementing a traceability system helps ensure the five patient’s rights: the right patient receives the right drug, at the right time, at the right dose by the right person via the right route. Sanatorio Güemes is now able to track and trace all the drugs from the moment they are being received up to the moment the patient receives the treatment and beyond. Clearly patient safety is improved, but healthcare professionals are also more protected from errors and mistakes.

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