The board of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association has voted unanimously to adopt a system that would allow group purchasers to pinpoint the physical location of every provider in the United States.
HIGPA is ready to implement what are called global location numbers, or GLNs, for every provider. Each number would key to a specific location.
"Right now, there is no reliable system in place to know where essential healthcare providers are located," said HIGPA President Curtis Rooney in a statement. "The adoption of GLNs by GPOs is the first step toward better ensuring that the right products are delivered to the right location."
Rooney noted that such a process would make it far easier for medical suppliers to know exactly where their products are positioned, enabling them to move more swiftly in case of a product recall or a public health crisis. It would also reduce costs by making logistics more efficient.
Before GLNs may be standardized, the healthcare industry would first have to adopt specific item numbers for every medical product. Such a system could be in place by the end of 2012, according to Rooney.
Among the group purchasers that have signed a declaration of support for GLNs is Premier, Novation, Consorta, MedAssets and the Child Health Corporation of America, among others.