NHS eProcurement strategy published in April 2014 sought to establish the global GS1 coding and PEPPOL messaging standards throughout the healthcare sector and its supporting supply chains.
What is GS1 ?
GS1 is the international not-for-profit organisation behind the only global system for bar coding, and for standardised identification of products, assets, services, places and organizations.
To start off NHS wants to implement GS1 for for person identification (using bar coded wristbands) product coding (using manufacturers barcodes on products), location coding (by allowing trusts to define their locations as per agreed format)and data synchronisation. This linking of patient, product and location initially will create improvements for traceability in Patient's pathway. They can identify where they’ve been, who treated them, what products were used, which products were implanted, which equipment they used, the drugs they took, where they were located
In future it is planned to use GS1 barcodes for events medical records and equipment as well for end to end traceability using standard well defined coding mechanism.
What is PEPPOL ?
PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement Online and was designed to solve interoperability issues for electronic procurement
To start off NHS want to implement PEPPOL for eOrdering, eInvoicing, electronic Credit Notes and Advance Shipping Notifications. PEPPOL implementation would modify the traditional way of each trust needing an individual EDI connection to each of their suppliers, large and small. But PEPPOL through a nationally established infrastrucure will allow a trust to have one single eProcurement link to the outside world, via which they can trade with current future suppliers, large and small, in the UK as well as internationally. A supplier also needs only one connection to PEPPOL, in order to reach not only all NHS customers, but also all other PEPPOL-connected trading partners at home and abroad.
Where are we now ?
DH has provided central funding in order to develop GS1 standards within 6 acute trusts which are to act as demonstrator sites for the remainder of the NHS. The demonstrator sites have 2 years starting January 2016 to roll out the GS1 and PEPPOL standards.
Relevance of PEPPOL in Post-Brexit world
PEPPOL has no dependency on being in EU or not. PEPPOL standardizes the way suppliers and organisational buyers interact with each other. PEPPOL through locally provided infrastructure will enable e-trading driving down costs and suppliers, who trade across Europe.The average costs associated with processing a single order through to invoice at NHS trusts range from £5 to £7. Business cases produced by demonstrator sites are expected to demonstrate that that cost can be reduced to around £1.
The country which uses PEPPOL most widely is Norway which is not even in EU. The Norwegian public sector has chosen to communicate through the PEPPOL network and in 2015, approximately 21 million electronic invoices were exchanged via PEPPOL Norway bringing decent savings and improved traceability of public expenses.