Hospitals, Healthcare Suppliers Achieving Immediate Benefits as a Part of Data Standardization Project to Improve Patient

  • Premier healthcare alliance program first of its kind bringing together multiple providers and suppliers to prepare for industry deadline
  • Participants include Geisinger Health System and Medline Industries, Aurora Health Care and Baxter International, and Mission Hospital and Owens & Minor

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- With the industry deadline for the adoption of healthcare data standards rapidly approaching, participants in a Premier healthcare alliance project are seeing benefits in preparing for implementation that lay the groundwork for improved patient safety and healthcare cost reduction.

According to healthcare provider and supplier participants in Premier’s Global Location Number (GLN) Transaction program, preparing to implement the GLN can and should start now and in short order with immediate cost and quality benefits, regardless of other implementation challenges that may exist. Detailed results from the first phase of the program are available in the report, GLN Implementation – On your way to better supply chain interactions.

Premier’s GLN Transaction Program is the first effort of its kind in the industry, bringing together multiple providers and suppliers to prepare for the healthcare industry’s December 31, 2010, GLN Sunrise implementation deadline. The program features early adopter provider organizations paired with supplier partners to discover and document the steps necessary to successfully implement GLN, a globally recognized identification number used to identify legal entities, trading partners and customer location in electronic commerce activities. Having reliable and consistent location information is important for patient safety, as the GLN ensures the proper delivery of products to the right location, and allows trading partners to improve supply chain efficiencies.

Provider and supplier partners paired to participate in the first phase of the Premier GLN Transaction Program include:

  • Geisinger Health System and Medline Industries
  • Aurora Health Care and Baxter International
  • Mission Hospital and Owens & Minor

“While there can be challenges along the way, GLN implementation is not rocket science; it only takes a commitment to a better way of doing things, open communications and support of your trading partners,” says Deborah Templeton, vice president of supply chain services, Geisinger Health System.

Sang Chong, enterprise architect, Owens & Minor, suggests that “GLN implementation is doable by December 2010. No one needs to wait until everything is perfect or lined up. Get started, identify your opportunities and challenges, and you’ll soon be on your way to more streamlined supply chain interactions.”

Medline’s Dave Rolston agreed and stated that although not all processes may be in place for each trading partner to transact with the GLN, “don’t let ‘perfect’ get in the way of ‘good.’ Keep it simple. Starting small, and with one trading partner at a time, the industry will be able to get this done, and will be able to surmount any barriers to implementation.”

Premier launched the GLN Transaction Program in May 2009, with the first GLN transaction taking place in August 2009. Premier member hospitals involved in the GLN Transaction Program will continue to build upon the experiences and lessons learned, and Premier will expand its GLN Transaction Program to include additional member and supplier partner pairings.

“Reliable information about delivery location in the healthcare supply chain is essential to providers receiving the right product at the right location, both vital components in ensuring patient safety and cost reductions,” said Joe Pleasant, Premier’s senior vice president and chief information officer. “Provider and supplier participants in this transaction program share the belief that the GLN will provide a better way of conducting supply chain business, and they’re committed to using GLN in their daily transactions.”

Though the GLN implementation experience differed between the hospital/supplier pairings in the first phase of the Premier GLN Transaction Program, there were several steps that were consistent for all the participants:

1. Reconcile with GPO rosters – Though Premier has registered GLNs on behalf of its entire membership, providers should cleanse and reconcile the information in the GLN Registry for Healthcare® – either directly with the registry or with Premier. The process will result in accurate GLNs at the highest level and matching information appearing on the Premier roster.

2. Take maintenance control of registry information – As hospitals open and close, new affiliations are added or offices move, GLNs will need to be updated. Participants recommended that someone on staff be assigned to either work with the GPO to keep the registry and GPO roster information current, or self-maintain the information.

3. Establish proper GLN hierarchy strategy – Once accurate GLNs are assigned at the highest levels (parent location), providers will need to establish the proper hierarchy of locations in the registry, including affiliated clinics, laboratories and other facilities.

4. Communicate with your GPO to make sure your GLN hierarchy is in alignment – This is an important step to ensure that GPO reporting is accurate, and rebates are sent to the correct facility at the correct time.

5. Cleanse and reconcile your “ship to” locations with suppliers – Select supportive supplier partners ready to meet your GLN needs. With these suppliers, review your “ship to” locations to ensure GLNs in the suppliers’ systems are appropriately mapped to the existing supplier-assigned account numbers for those “ship to” locations.

6. Upload GLNs to the provider information system and make any necessary changes to enable electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission of GLNs.

7. Begin transacting using GLN – Understand the EDI system your supplier is using, how it works with your system and begin transacting with the GLN. There is no “one size fits all” approach; with each implementation, participants will learn lessons that can be applied to the next implementation.

8. Identify challenges and establish work-around solutions when appropriate – Participants experienced challenges in two main areas: technology incompatibility (not able to transmit GLN format) and lack of readiness at exchange provider. One barrier not encountered, but considered possible by participants, was a potential lack of available resources to support up-front time involved in cleansing and reconciling account information with GPOs or suppliers.

9. Stay involved and contribute to the growing healthcare GLN knowledge bank.

About the GLN

The GLN is a globally recognized identification number used in the GS1 system to identify legal entities, trading partners and customer locations in electronic commerce activities. GLN provides a globally unique identification number for a functional entity (such as a hospital pharmacy or accounting department).

About the Premier healthcare alliance, 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Recipient

Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,300 U.S. hospitals and 66,000-plus other healthcare sites working together to improve healthcare quality and affordability. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier maintains the nation's most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has offices in San Diego, Philadelphia and Washington.


Premier Inc.
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