Decision-support tool helps providers adopt standard material identifiers

Researchers at the University of Arkansas' Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics have created free software to help providers understand and implement universal GS1 supply chain standards, the school announced today.

Users can download the Levels, Readiness and Impact Model spreadsheet to identify the resources, including staff and technology, they'll need to meet GS1 standards. The spreadsheet also helps users calculate what they'll gain in terms of efficiency and accuracy, according to the announcement.

Ron Rardin, the center's director and a professor of industrial engineering, tells FierceHealthIT the tool has the potential to increase safety and efficiency and reduce waste. Universal identifiers for materials, he says, allows users to more easily identify outdated materials, thus reducing patient safety risks.

"An awful lot of people do things more than once," Rardin says. "The whole idea is to forecast or simulate what would happen if you follow different paths on GS1 ... There should only be one source of truth if we're going to avoid confusion."

According to Rardin, several providers have helped in the vetting process of the tool, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health in Baton Rouge, La., Denver Health and Hospital Authority and the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Last month, the Healthcare Transformation Group--a collaborative comprised of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente; Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa.; Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City; Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; and the St. Louis-based Mercy system--identified its members' top five suppliers across all product lines and asked them to apply GS1 identification codes to their products as soon as possible.

To learn more:
- read the University of Arkansas announcement
- download the tool (reg. required)