GS1 is a data standards organization that regulates many standards across industries such as UPCs in supermarkets or ISBNs on books.

The Department of Health accredited GS1 as an issuing agency to assign Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs). The standards organizations provide the UDIs and also set the rules on how the barcodes containing those UDIs appear on the packaging.

There are three main parts:

  • Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs). GTINs are the device identifier portions of the UDIs. Each device is assigned a GTIN, just as each device is assigned a catalog number, and that GTIN will appear in a barcode on its packaging down to the unit of use (the each level) and can also be used to transact.
  • Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). GDSN is the way that suppliers and providers can synchronize their item masters. GDSN is a tool that allows the providers to automatically receive product data such as the GTIN and other relevant supply chain information.
  • Global Location Numbers (GLNs). Each address would have its own GLN which provide better shipping and invoicing accuracy.

Direct Healthcare Services conducted a survey of its customers and determined that the industry was moving toward the GS1 standard. We evaluated whether we should keep both existing serial number codes and new GTINs on the labels but, based on input from customers and key stakeholders, we determined that it was confusing to have multiple barcodes on the packaging. Through this project, we will be transitioning our labels to GS1.

For more information, visit the GS1 website: