The Global Language of Business

Improving traceability in the operating theater at Bernhoven Hospital, the Netherlands

Bernhoven Hospital has leveraged the barcodes applied to medical devices by its suppliers to better manage product recalls, improve inventory management and reduce manual processes.

waste reduction

The context

The majority of medical devices Bernhoven used in the operating theatre had already been labelled using GS1 barcodes. The hospital developed an internal database of these products, with availability and location information.

With the help of GS1 healthcare barcodes, Bernhoven achieved complete traceability of its operating theatre medical devices, from the time a product enters the hospital to its point of use. It improved patient safety and supply chain efficiency as a consequence.


  • Traceability of medical devices used in the operating theatre increased to 100%1
  • Excess stock held reduced by 31%
  • Total value of on-hand stock reduced by 23%
  • Interest owed on hospital-owned inventory decreased by €2,517 based on stock reduction
  • Waste reduced by 72%

1 Bitter, J., & Van Ark, E. (n.d.).The first Dutch hospital with a unique barcode on all medical devices. GS1 Healthcare Reference Book 2015-2016: Successful Implementations of GS1 Standards, 29-32.