Healthcare

As a patient you are entitled to the best care. The use of our standards in healthcare increases patient safety, drives supply chain efficiencies and improves the traceability of medicines.

Our standards in action can be seen at:

Improving patient safety with GS1 standards

The use of our standards across global healthcare supply chains can help reduce medication errors and save lives.


Implementing global standards across the entire healthcare supply chain could save 22-43,000 lives and avert 0.7 to 1.4 million patient disabilities on an annual basis.
– McKinsey report, 2012


How our standards save lives

Using our standards in healthcare helps supports the five patient rights – right patient, right drug or device, right time, right dose, right route:

  • Enables verification of the patient’s identity
  • Enables product verification ensuring that the right patient receives the right medication
  • Supports efficient product recalls by linking the medical product to the patient

Saving money in the healthcare supply chain

With extreme pricing pressures on healthcare providers, reducing costs while delivering high-quality medical care is an urgent priority.


The healthcare industry faces a potentially costly patchwork of requirements. Over the long term this patchwork could become unworkable. The adoption of a single set of global standards will cost significantly less than two and far less than three or more
– McKinsey report, 2012


Cost savings are realised because of:

  • reduction in follow-on cost of medication errors
  • savings from improved inventory management
  • savings from reduced data management costs
  • savings from a more efficient supply chain

GS1 Healthcare data sharing – GDSN

Our global standards enable healthcare partners to have automatic and efficient access to product data location information and transactional messages.

Data synchronisation enables healthcare trading partners to share trusted product data, locally and globally, in an automatic and efficient way. This enables reduction in errors and increased efficiency. Inconsistent, inaccurate and outdated product information makes it, for example, nearly impossible for hospitals to conduct effective supply chain procurement or manage product expiry dates for bedside dispensing.

This can have a ripple effect across all other processes and systems in a hospital which require accurate and correct product information, ultimately affecting patient safety.

Healthcare traceability and GS1 standards

Tracking products across the healthcare supply chain eliminates counterfeit healthcare products, increases patient safety and complies with regulations.

Traceability in healthcare enables you to see the movement of prescription drugs or medical devices across the supply chain. You can trace backwards to identify the history of the transfers and locations of a product, from the point of manufacture onwards. And you can track forwards to see the intended route of the product towards the point of care.

Medical Devices

The Unique Device Identification (UDI) is a system used to mark and identify medical devices within the healthcare supply chain.

The IMDRF (International Medical Device Regulator Forum) and other regulators across the world are aiming for a globally harmonised and consistent approach to increase patient safety and help optimise patient care by proposing a harmonised legislation for Unique Device Identification (UDI), using global standards.

On 17 December 2013, GS1 was accredited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as issuing agency for unique device identifiers (UDIs).