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The health-care industry, on the other
hand, has traditionally used other location
coding methods, including proprietary ones
or the popular DUNS+4 method, which com-
bines a nine-digit number generated by Dun
& Bradstreet to identify an organization and
a four-digit number assigned by the organi-
While there's nothing wrong with these
other location identification methods, "using
the GS1 system provides globally accepted
identifiers, standards and a common lan-
guage for the communication of supply chain
information," says Brad Pedrow, director
of health care for GS1 Healthcare U.S. "This
promotes the e cient exchange of accurate
party and location information with supply
chain partners to support deliveries, rebates
It's also a matter of patient safety, accord-
ing to Pedrow. "Electronic medical records,
automated ordering systems and other
health-care IT systems all require reliable
location identification and information to
improve patient safety and support patient
care," he explains.
Additionally, using GLNs can save you
time because you'll be performing fewer
administrative tasks. Using GLNs can elim-
inate the need to maintain thousands of
single-purpose supplier numbers---instead,
your GLNs become your customer numbers.
And when something changes about your
address or contact information, you don't
have to contact every supplier to update the
information---simply edit the GLN entry in
the GLN Registry for Healthcare.
Using GLNs also can help minimize cleri-
cal errors. Because the GLN is linked to an
entry in the GLN Registry, supply chain part-
ners don't have to manually enter all of the
necessary location information in supply
chain communications---all they have to do
is reference the GLN.
Implementing GLNs in
According to GS1, there are more than
345,000 health-care GLNs listed in the GLN
Registry for Healthcare---and yours is one
of them. As a supporter of the GLN initia-
tive, HealthTrust assigns GLNs for each
of its members. (Contact customer service
at (888) 222--1172 or hpg.membership@
healthtrustpg.com for information about
GLNs.) Additionally, HealthTrust has
modified its IT systems to support business
transactions using GLNs. "When vendors
want to report to us using GLNs, we can
support that," says Lynette Gibbons, senior
associate vice president, Member Services.
But having a GLN and transacting with
one are two di erent things. While there
are 345,000 health-care GLNs listed in the
GLN Registry as of May 2012, only 2,613
health-care facilities self-reported to GS1
their readiness for adoption of the GLN.
Implementation requires a number of
critical steps, including getting buy-in from
organization executives and other members
of the supply chain team, determining what
locations within the organization need their
own GLNs (this is called assigning a GLN
hierarchy), communicating both internally
and externally to ensure that GLNs are being
used properly, and updating IT systems to
support business transactions using GLNs.
According to Pedrow, the process of
beginning to transact with GLNs could take
between a few months for a single-site orga-
nization to a year for an organization with
The biggest mistake Pedrow sees orga-
nizations make as they implement GLNs is
doing too much in the first phase of imple-
mentation. Whether your organization has
one GLN for the whole operation or 100
for specific sites within each facility, start
small: Transact using one GLN at first, then
add others as you, your sta and vendors get
more comfortable with the system.
See box above for other things to consider
during implementation. •
For more on GLN implementation
resources, including a step-by-step GLN
implementation guide, case studies
and on-demand webinars, visit http://
Pedrow will present "Location, Location,
Location: Understanding the Power of the
GLN Registry," at the 2012 HealthTrust
University Conference in Las Vegas
on July 31.
Ask Yourself ...
• Which transactions make sense to
focus on first?
• What changes may be
necessary to my internal systems?
• What vendors are most
critical to get on board first?
• Who in my organization should
be involved in the process?
• What are the roles and
responsibilities for all parties?
• How will we measure ROI?
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