Standardization at Erasmus MC

From high-risk medication to assets

Erasmus MC uses Mediclabel to uniquely identify High Risk Medication and Assetlabel for locations and assets according to the GS1 standard.

The GS1 DataMatrix is ​​scanned and contributes to medication safety, traceability, and manageability.

Erik Zwarter, Information manager transmural care at Erasmus MC:

“The international GS1 standard helps us in all medical processes; from purchasing, logistics, medical procedures, to the aftercare of the patient. This enables us to provide excellent care at Erasmus MC and to strive for logistical efficiency and guarantee patient safety.”


High-risk Medication

“We started this project for two reasons, firstly because of the patient safety topic that was current at the time, secondly because we received feedback from the OR that the double check, in particular, was difficult to perform. It took people too much time. It wasn’t very efficient. We truly wanted to improve this, to increase patient and medication safety”, says Dr. Nicole Hunfeld, Hospital Pharmacist at Erasmus MC.

“The reason we went for Mediclabel, is because we could design Mediclabel together with Type 2 Solutions. Essentially ensuring that it meets our requirements and wishes exactly.”

Watch the video ‘Standardization at Erasmus MC: from high-risk medication to assets’.

Double check

Christian Favoccia, Anesthesiologist at Erasmus MC, adds:

“We had to find something that works with various syringes. This system we have now, works. We can print the labels in advance for a standard set at anesthesiology and/or standard syringes at the IC, we can perform a double check according to the four eyes principle, which is completely implemented, the confirmation, complete with signature and after that we can administer it safely.”

Tall Man Lettering

“There are a number of medicines with similar names, so to prevent accidentally swapping these, we implemented Tall Man Lettering. So, we’ve alternated upper- and lower-case letters to help read the right name.”

Barcode scanned on the medicine pump

“The barcode, here on the label, has been added because we can now scan our medication before administrating them. Which is another step in the improvement of medication safety. So, this barcode is scanned, using the medicine pump, the pump recognizes the barcode and automatically selects the correct medication”, continues Dr. Nicole Hunfeld onward.

Medicine pump label with tall man lettering and barcode.

Compliments from the inspection

Prof. dr. Robert Jan Stolker, Anesthesiologist at Erasmus MC, shares proudly:

“We’ve actually received compliments from the inspection during a visit, they said this was an example of how it should be done. We’ve also received an award, about 2 to 3 years later, together with the pharmacy, for this initiative on patient safety.”

Decrease in medication error reports

“What it has brought us is that we have set up a safe system, we also saw a decrease in the number of medication error reports. So, I believe that’s a big advantage for the hospital. It’s also a system which is easy to use, so everyone can work with it right away.”

“This is especially important to me because it adds to the safety”, concludes Dr. Nicole Hunfeld.


Locations and Assets

“We have approximately 40.000 assets in the hospital that we regularly perform maintenance on as property management team. In the field you want to be sure that you’re at the right asset. So, we had to stick a label on each one”, says Hans Hutters, Team Leader Property Support at Erasmus MC.

Unique sticker

“We wanted to label with a unique sticker that could be scanned. So that in the future, it can be scanned by software. That’s actually the reason why we started working with Assetlabel.”

Watch the video ‘Standardization at Erasmus MC’.

Scanning locations

“Generating the software labels is quite simple. We want to use it, so that when you’re at a restroom, you can scan the room label and create a cleaning alert for it. All without typing in the room number or anything.”

GS1 datamatrix barcode

“That datamatrix barcode which we chose, is that we wanted an international standard, we’re an academic hospital, international standards are our go to. It’s a globally unique number, that’s an advantage too, and it recognizably belongs to Erasmus MC. IT also saves money in the end. And it will be easier for our healthcare colleagues to report issues to us, meaning they’ll have to spend less time on administration.”

Example: Medical gas station

“We’re at a medical gas station. A few years ago, there has been an accident in another hospital, where the O-ring was broken, resulting in a fire. Naturally, this is something you wish to prevent.

Since that time, it’s mandatory to replace the O-ring every 6 years. The moment we do that, we immediately place a matrix label on it, with the year that is has been replaced as well as the year it should be replaced again.”

Scan and report

“They can scan it and then they can report that the O-ring needs replacement, or if it’s leaking, which is a possibility, it could also be malfunctioning. They can report it then as well.”

Scanning the GS1 DataMatrix barcode with the property management app.