The use of barcodes on drugs and medical devices is an important step to improve patient safety and will allow the tracking of medical products before, during and after any medical procedure.

One of the main concerns in healthcare today is patient safety. GS1 System of standard item identification and bar coding can improve efficiency in the healthcare sector by increasing the accuracy of data entry. The capturing data via bar code scanners enables healthcare professionals to verify whether the right drug was used at the right time for the right patient in the right dose. GS1 System has the potential to be not only cost effective but also to save lives.

GS1 bar codes are used in the healthcare sector because it is a fast, easy and accurate way of capturing and entering data. GS1 bar codes do not contain any descriptive data but it is a reference number in a computer file in a database with the relevant and vital data that can be extracted quickly and efficiently when needed.

In hospitals, GS1 bar codes can be used to improve processes in areas like patient registration and admission for patients’ forms, patients’ labels and wristbands, patients’ records and also patients’ billing.

Bar codes can also improve patient tracking like accurate identification of order requisition, tests results, patients’ charts and medical records. Bar codes can also be used for inventory control and tracking, tracking reusable medical supplies and equipment.

In many other countries, pharmaceutical suppliers and healthcare providers are already using the GS1 system for better management of inventory, production and supply of healthcare products.

An efficient identification and tracking system of all the medical products and services handled by the hospitals, clinics and pharmacies will improve delivery of medication to patients, reduce treatment errors, improve inventory and even facilitate tracking of shelf-life date of medical drugs. This will reduce operational and inventory costs whilst increasing quality services and better healthcare management.

GS1 applications in the healthcare industry are numerous and cover whole value chains from the "final" customers, i.e. the hospitals, independent laboratories, pharmacy/retail outlets, GPs (General Practitioners) and the patient, to suppliers, wholesalers and distributors.

Benefits for Healthcare Product Supplier:

  • Secured system recognized by all international standards bodies.
  • Unambiguous and unique identification of healthcare products.
  • Accurate traceability of products.
  • Improved order management.
  • Accurate billing/invoicing.
  • Simplification of labelling – one bar code label for all markets.
  • Stronger relations with customers.


Benefits for Healthcare Services Providers:

  • Accurate and secure product identification meaning zero errors in identifying the product.
  • Reduction in administrative work meaning more time for patients.
  • Less mistakes meaning lower costs of operations.
  • Improved stock management meaning reduced space for storing and increase in operation capital availability.
  • More efficient operations through optimized flow of products, information and improved utilization of assets.


Security and Assurance for the Patient:

  • Healthcare service providers ensure that patients received the right products at the right time in the most cost effective manner.
  • Allow complete solutions for tracking and tracing patients from admissions, through operations to the patient’s bedside.
  • Patients can be assured that the right medical tests are attributed to them and that they have received the right medical treatment and products.