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Pharma industry involvement in the supply-chain transaction service remains low
The healthcare-industry business exchange GHX has added its 13th member to a network of supplies and providers called the GHX Health ConneXion data pool. According to the Louisville, CO, company, through GPO members such as Novation, as well as several integrated healthcare systems, it now connects 82% of licensed beds in the US to the suppliers that provide roughly 90% of their medical-surgical supplies. A few Canadian and European healthcare systems are also members.
Last spring when it announced GHX Health ConneXion (which is the newest version of an exchange that has been building since 2000), GHX noted that has been certified as a Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) by the GS1 organization. Practically speaking, that means that its members are already progressing in adopting GS1 standards for identifying locations (GLNs) and product identifiers (GTINs). Several other major GPOs have joined GS1 directly and are moving toward adopting the same standards. GHX claims that its platform has saved healthcare providers over $1 billion in transaction costs, and is aiming for a $5-billion savings by 2015.
All this is hauntingly familiar to the latter stages of the electronic pedigree/track-and-trace movement that pharma manufacturers and distributors were considering when the now-postponed California pedigree rules were looming in 2008. GS1 standards were being proposed for product identification, and the GHX data pool roughly corresponds to the “discovery service” that was to be a central repository of product movements (there are significant technical differences, however). Of equal interest, all of the Big Three distributors are GHX equity partners, as are several manufacturers, including Baxter Healthcare and Covidien. As yet, though, the GHX platform is not used for a significant amount of pharmaceutical purchasing. PC