Medication errors are one of the most common causes of preventable adverse events in the healthcare system. Identification of a medicine, up to the moment of administration, is therefore a key element of a safe medicine dispensing procedure in hospitals. Indeed, preliminary studies have suggested the use of bar codes on medicines to the single unit level can help to reduce medication error rates by 41.4%.
Point-of-care verification systems and traceability systems rely on the effective capture of data of healthcare products at all packaging levels, whenever dispensed, administered, distributed or used. But until today, hospitals were confronted with the lack of globally harmonised standards on how to identify products at lower levels of packaging such as a single-packed catheter or the individual blister cell from a multi-cell blister card.
A GS1 Healthcare work group, consisting of over 80 supply chain experts, took the challenge of agreeing to clarify and update the GS1 Standards to provide guidance on how to identify healthcare products at the single unit level also referred to as “Level Below the Each”. This new standard will provide clear and consistent guidance on how to identify at this level.