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New Global Collaboration between GS1 and IHTSDO

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GS1 and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) announced the signing of a new collaborative agreement that supports interoperability in health information systems globally. The agreement between GS1 and IHTSDO follows an initial memorandum of understanding the organizations signed in 2010.

GS1’s global trade item numbers (GTIN) are global standards for automatic product identification (through barcodes), used for patient safety and traceability. IHTSDO’s SNOMED CT is a global standard that ensures semantically accurate clinical terminology for consistent use across health systems and services. Ensuring that these two standards can work together will facilitate the link between clinical information in the patient record and the correct product administered to the patient at point of care, enabled by barcode scanning.

“We are excited about building on our previous collaborative efforts with GS1 through this new work,” said IHTSDO CEO Don Sweete.“This new agreement focuses on concrete projects for linking GTINs and SNOMED CT further support those in the delivery of care to patients and start to demonstrate benefits as early as next year.”

There are four main areas of collaboration specified in the new global agreement, which runs until June 2017:
1. Develop guidance/principles for linking SNOMED CT and GTINs that can be applied at the national/local level
2. Explore options, feasibility and benefits for a technical solution/model at the international level to support local/national linkage between SNOMED CT and GTINs
3. Conduct joint communications about IHTSDO and GS1 standards working together
4. Explore options for education across healthcare communities based on feedback from subject matter experts, but likely focused on GS1 and IHTSDO products and services and collaborative activities

Miguel Lopera, GS1 CEO and President, commented “the use of GS1 global standards for product identification and data exchange is critical in addressing today’s issues in healthcare systems and will help ensure patient safety by appropriately linking patient information with accurate product information in all Electronic Health Records (EHRs).”

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