ER 'NSync

Healthcare Coalition launches phase two of industry product data synchronization initiative

West Springfield, MA  January 10, 2002  The second phase of the Health Care EDI Coalition's Collaborative Supply Chain Automation Project (COStCAP) for the medical/surgical industry has been launched, after a successful "data synchronization" pilot program involving the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), 3M, Owens & Minor and Allegiance.  Technology and services from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Profile Systems were utilized to facilitate the pilot.

With an estimated $14 billion spent annually correcting data disparities within the health care industry supply chain, the goals of COStCAP are to synchronize electronic product data throughout the industry's supply chain, from each manufacturer through to the hospital bed side.

"Product data disparity is a systemic problem within the health care supply chain that significantly drives up costs and can often directly impact patient care when the right products don't get to where they need to be," says Garren Hagemeier, HEDIC's Executive Director. "With our military now in an active combat situation, we all understand just how critical it is to solve this problem quickly."

At the heart of COStCAP is the establishment of an industry-wide product data utility that will synchronize product and packaging information based on a standardized Product Data Synchronization Template. The template is a tool that defines how data is to be presented and shared, including trading partner information, product data components and attributes (e.g. item numbers, classification codes, units of measure and usage, product descriptions, etc.).

The completed first phase of COStCAP was a pilot program coordinated and managed by SAIC that involved the analysis and synchronization of 3M product data with the DSCP, and key suppliers, Owens & Minor and Allegiance.  The next "benchmarking" phase will involve additional product manufacturers, distributors and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO's) with whom the DSCP does business.  The end goal is a single federal/commercial repository of medical-surgical item product data - which will improve patient care and streamline efficiencies throughout the medical/surgical supply chain resulting in billions of dollars of savings.

Data validation, matching and synchronization tools and services are being provided by Profile Systems, a West Springfield, MA-based provider of B2B e-commerce software and solutions.  The company's MasterDepot® web-based product data management solution will serve as the COStCAP product data utility database.  Companies participating in the project will follow a multi-step synchronization process, involving data evaluation in conformance with established standards, product ID matching, UPN and UN/SPSC Coding, and Pack Level Data Field Analysis.

"Providing supply chain participants with access to universal, standardized electronic product information must be the foundation upon which electronic commerce is built," says John Clarke, Vice President, Supply Chain Solutions at SAIC.  "The federal government has the opportunity to save over $1 billion annually simply by having a clearer understanding of what medical/surgical products it is purchasing and leveraging its purchasing volume. Indeed, the benefits to all supply chain participants are clear, including improved order management, accurate contracting, invoicing and PO's, asset visibility and consumption tracking."

The benchmarking phase of COStCAP is expected to be completed by April, 2002. For more information about COStCAP, contact HEDIC at or by calling 1-800-905-4583.