Identification keys in healthcare

There are several identification keys used in healthcare. Some standards are the same as those found in retail, but some have specific applications for healthcare where patients' lives matter.

GS1 standards are open, global, proven and simple.

  • Open, technology-independent standards enable full interoperability and compatibility. End users are not tied to proprietary solutions and R&D resources can be released for other value-added developments once standards are adopted.
  • Healthcare is by nature a global industry, with supply chains that often cross borders. A globally standardised traceability system, from production to patient treatment, is imperative to meet the increasing regulatory requirements for product traceability around the world. In the case of cross-border trade, a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can be used to identify that product in any country without any restrictions or errors.
  • The GS1 system is one that has proven its robustness over the past 30+ years in various sectors worldwide.

Standards used for identification in the healthcare sector:


Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) - Product codes

Do I need to allocate a new GTIN if I change my packaging or make any changes to my product?

Check the specific GTIN allocation rules for the healthcare sector or download the guide.

Learn more about GTINs


Unique Device Identifier (UDI)

What is a UDI? Which standards should be used?

More about UDIs


Global Location Number (GLN) - Location codes

How can I identify legal entities, such as a hospital, a supplier, a pharmacy or physical entities like the operating room, a warehouse with a GLN?

View the implementation guide

More about GLNs


Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) - Pallets with product codes

How to create identification numbers for pallets of products?

LMore about SSCCs


Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI) - Assets with codes

How can you uniquely identify and manage assets such as wheelchairs or beds?

More about GIAIs


Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) - Logistic carrier codes

How do you create identification numbers for pallets, crates and other reusable carriers?

More about GRAIs


Global Service Relation Number (GSRN) & Service Relation Instance Number (SRIN) - Relationship codes

How can you uniquely identify your relationships with individual service providers (doctors, nurses, etc.) and individual service clients (patients)?

More about GSRNs
More about SRINs


Global Model Number (GMN) - Product model codes

How to identify a product model or product family?

More about GMNs


Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI) - Document codes

How can I identify documents?

More about GDTIs

Contact the sector helpdesk

Need technical information?