The Global Language of Business

Improving patient safety & quality of care at the National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders, St James’s Hospital, Ireland

An ineffective recall of contaminated plasma-derived haemophilia medication prompted the National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders (NCHCD) of St James’s Hospital to adopt GS1 barcodes as part of their initiative to improve patient safety. This enabled full traceability of these medicines including in patients' homes. 

of meds located in mock recall

The context

A lack of effective traceability led to contaminated medication being used, resulting in patient infection with HIV and/or hepatitis leading to over 100 deaths. Following this event, the NCHCD implemented a multi-location Electronic Patient Record system, a medication delivery traceability system, a medication scanning app and a number of GS1 barcodes to uniquely identify patients, medication and locations. 

The NCHCD redefined its approach to the national distribution of haemophilia medication with the help of GS1 barcodes and a medication scanning app for patients. Not only did they empower and protect patients, but they also drove cost savings across the country.


  • Over €5 million worth of medication stock removed from the supply chain1
  • Product wastage reduced from €90,216 to zero within one year of implementation
  • Documentation errors reduced from 12 to zero within one year of implementation
  • Identification of the location of 100% of medication within 10 minutes via a mock recall

1 Use of GS1 standards to improve patient safety, Feargal Mc Groarty.