Home » Future of Healthcare » Collaborating to innovate: Vaccine traceability

Mike Byrne

Chief Executive Officer, GS1 Ireland

Siobhain Duggan

Director of Innovation & Healthcare, GS1 Ireland

Identifying, tracking and reconciling vaccines with standards-based traceability systems across Ireland is making the COVID-19 vaccine rollout safer and more efficient.

As COVID-19 vaccines became available, the Health Service Executive (HSE) needed an efficient and effective way of receiving, tracking and reporting vaccinations across more than 40 centralised vaccination clinics (CVCs) in Ireland. It was important for the HSE’s National Immunisation Office (NIO) that batches of vaccine could be tracked right through to the point of vaccination.

Vaccine reconciliation

“The HSE, in collaboration with GS1 Ireland, adopted a standards-based approach for the identification and tracking of vaccines to the point of vaccination. Two software applications were developed following an intensive design phase with the HSE project team: ScanVax for receipt of the vaccine and TrackVax to track the vaccine to the point of vaccination,” explains GS1 Ireland’s CEO Mike Byrne.

Adding to this, Director of Innovation and Healthcare Siobhain Duggan explains: “TrackVax was installed in all CVCs across the country. It enables the CVC teams to identify, label, track and report on the vaccines in their centres, allowing a much easier vaccine reconciliation process locally and nationally.”

In Ireland, we support almost 4,000 members (licence holders) who use our standards to improve their supply chains’ efficiency, safety, and visibility.

Mike Byrne

Future opportunities

Looking more broadly at healthcare, Byrne says that stakeholders, including clinical practitioners are increasingly adopting systems that use barcode scanning, and traceability standards for the unique identification and tracking of medical products and healthcare locations.

The opportunity that was successfully embraced by the HSE in the national COVID-19 vaccination programme is an example of a model that could be applied to many other areas of care delivery.

Global standards

GS1 is best known for the barcode, named by the BBC as one of “the 50 things that made the world economy.” Providing a system of unique numbers, data carriers (barcodes and radio frequency identification tags) and information sharing standards for products, assets, locations, services and relationships. Their standards are the most widely used supply chain standards globally. They are used in more than 25 sectors including retail food and grocery, transport and logistics, aviation, construction and DIY, as well as healthcare.

Local support

“In Ireland, we support almost 4,000 members (licence holders) who use our standards to improve their supply chains’ efficiency, safety, and visibility across offline and online channels,” explains Byrne.

“When you join GS1 Ireland, you join a community of organisations whose product data is built on trusted standards – enabling all such product data to be easily and accurately shared with their trading partners.”

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