Healthcare coalition to establish comprehensive supply chain standards

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Ideally, by the conclusion of September 2007, the U.S. healthcare industry should be instituting standards for a supply chain infrastructure, which will facilitate seamless transactions for medical products, specifically online transactions. Currently, there is no singular way to identify products or the organizations that receive them, so it remains difficult to track products in the supply chain, which could potentially pose difficulties to healthcare quality.

As a result, the Healthcare Supply Chain Standards Coalition (HSCSC), an industry and government group functioning under the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, published an online survey to obtain data on current organizational identifiers, in an attempt to recommend single industry standards as early as September this year.

“Healthcare suppliers and providers recognize they incur unnecessary costs and errors when trading partners do not use the same identifier for the same organization and location,” said Mary Pat Elwood, chairwoman of the HSCSC’s Organizational Identifier Subcommittee. “But definitive data on what will be required for healthcare to move to a single standard…simply doesn’t exist.”

This transition will improve quality, and will eliminate avoidable costs, estimated at $16 billion each year because of the inefficiency of the supply chain. Ordering errors alone are estimated at $2.9 billon yearly.

HSCSC is seeking broad participation in the survey, with the ultimate goal of establishing standards from those that already have traction in the healthcare industry.