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It's all about quality data

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Steve Graham, eProcurement/Scan4Safety lead at the Department of Health and Social Care and Gillian Fox, head of the eProcurement programme at NHS Supply Chain talk to National Health Executive magazine about the ways NHS providers and suppliers can simplify data management.

Thousands of suppliers support the NHS by providing the equipment it needs to treat its patients. Yet before medical goods of any kind can be delivered, buying organisations need to tell selling organisations what they need. With so many products, often with many specifications, some of them configurable, supporting many different procedures and interventions – with the potentially harmful consequences of getting it wrong – this process can be fraught with difficulty.

A way to simplify this process and better support the NHS to care for its patients is for suppliers to electronically share information on the products that they sell. Currently, many versions and variations of what should be identical data about any specific product are used both within and across the NHS and its suppliers. What is needed is a single version of common data that can be reused by any and all organisations that rely on that data.

The GS1 Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) offers the opportunity to provide the NHS with a ‘single source of truth’ for product data. Through this model, suppliers maintain accurate product data, using their own tried-and-tested electronic systems. NHS buyers access this data using their own in-trust systems, with accurate information flowing electronically between the two through a validation gateway that provides assurance over the scope and quality of the data that is being exchanged.

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