The Use of GLN (Global Location Number) in Healthcare

The GLN not only identifies a specific party or location, but also provides the link to the information pertaining to it (i.e., a database holding the GLN attributes).

This is a key advantage of using a shared, globally unique identifier because all information can be held and maintained centrally in a database reducing the effort required to maintain and communicate information between multiple parties on a national or global basis.

This enables supply chain partners to simply reference a GLN in supply chain communications, as opposed to manually entering all of the necessary party/location information. Using a GLN to reference party/location information promotes efficiency, precision and accuracy in communicating and sharing
location information.

GLNs in patient safety applications

Within a facility, the GLN can be used to uniquely identify the location where a product is administered or used by a patient. This helps to insure that the correct product for the patient is used and, in the case of an adverse event to trace both the product and the patient.

GLNs in sterile equipment management

Within a facility, the GLN can be used to uniquely identify the location where a product is administered or used by a patient. This helps to insure that the correct product for the patient is used and, in the case of an adverse event to trace both the product and the patient.

GLNs in sterile equipment management

Effective decontamination and sterilisation of surgical instruments is a critical activity for every healthcare provider, in particular with recent cases of healthcare acquired infections (HAI) and cross contamination of serious diseases such variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). This aspect has become even more important in recent years with hospitals outsourcing decontamination operations to specialist service providers who in turn often service a number of hospitals.

Many national healthcare regulators are mandating that each instrument and/or instrument tray must be uniquely identified and each use of the instruments and each decontamination activity recorded. GLNs are used to support this process by uniquely identifying the locations where instruments are used and stored such as Theatre instrument store rooms, operating theatres and sterile service providers, potentially even recording the location of the sterilisation machine used to perform the decontamination activity.

The use of GLNs in conjunction with GTINs (including serial numbers) and GIAIs will:

  •  Improve traceability and more efficient management of surgical instruments
  • Reduce errors and increase quality by more easily identifying missing or damaged instruments
  • Avoid the of migration of instruments from set to set
  •  Increase the efficiency of resources in instrument tray assembly operations
  •  Improve availability and usage of instruments

GLNs in medical asset management

Recent studies have highlighted the costs and inefficiencies which result in healthcare through the lack of visibility of the location of medical equipment. Clinical staff spends a lot of time looking for particular items of equipment such as wheelchairs, trolleys, patient monitors and infusion pumps. In addition, the lack of visibility leads to additional equipment being purchased or rented which increases costs and reduced asset utilisation.

An increasing number of healthcare facilities have implemented real time tracking of medical equipment using a combination of GIAI identifiers attached to the equipment in conjunction with RFID tags, wireless networks and GLN codes.

This combination could also be used to track other healthcare resources such as doctors, nurses and patients, subject to the required privacy and confidentiality considerations.

GLNs in product traceability and recall

It is increasingly important for companies in all sectors to be able to trace their products through the supply chain. This is particularly important in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors where product quality and contamination issues may have major implications for patient safety. Companies already have legal and regulatory obligations to trace and be able to recall their products if issues are identified. However, this is often difficult due to the complexity of the supply chain and the range of systems and processes in use.

The GS1 Traceability in Healthcare standard is available for adoption by regulatory authorities worldwide to provide a single global interoperable mechanism for traceability and recall. GLNs, in conjunction with GTINs and serialised product identifiers, are required to enable products to be traced across the supply chain, with each transfer of control or transfer of ownership identified by the GLN of the receiving party.

Manufacturers are also interested in using GLNs to identify each party handling their products in order to ensure the integrity of the product and to combat counterfeiting.

Finally, healthcare providers will be required to use GLNs in conjunction with GTIN and GSRN identifiers to ensure that products can be traced within a healthcare facility.

 

Downloads

Acrobat-Reader GLN in Healthcare (Implementation Guide)