"Medical Equipment Keeps Expiring Before Use: How Can We Improve Visibility Of Expiration Dates?"
According to the Becker Hospital Review, 24% of hospital workers have seen or heard of an expired product being used on a patient. Of course, the improper management of hospital equipment has both legal and regulatory implications.
Having heard, first-hand, from paramedics with "less than a few minutes" to manually jot down Ambulatory inventories prior to the beginning of their shifts, it's unsurprising that errors are taking place, and perishable or condition-critical items are failing to be flagged before expiration.
In this blog, we'll consider the ways Care Providers can use technology to improve visibility of critical equipment, and ensure hospital staff have the right tools to seamlessly manage inventories.
How Hospital Equipment Is Currently Managed
As a result of the Scan4Safety initiative, most hospitals now operate with some level of automation - using the likes of barcoding technology within inventory management systems. While barcoding technology does significantly improve the speed and accuracy of inventory management processes, there are still several reasons why hospitals should be looking to beyond barcoding technology towards RFID solutions:
- Barcode technology requires manual interventions from hospital staff
- Barcodes cannot be scanned and read without line-of-sight
- Workers must scan items one-by-one
- Barcode technology only delivers point-in-time visibility of stock
For any facilities still using pen-and-paper inventory management systems, we can quickly help you integrate cost-effective digitised solutions within your existing infrastructure, and would highly encourage you to reach out right away. For hospitals using barcoding technology, it's worth exploring The Benefits Of Adopting RFID Technology For Inventory Management.
The Benefits Of Adopting RFID Technology
RFID technology enables hospital staff to conduct inventory counts by simply passing intelligently tagged items through a system of fixed or mobile readers, capable of scanning multiple items at any one time.
It might take an individual minutes to manually scan tens of items within an inventory store, but with an RFID scanner, all items can be processed within seconds. This means the likes of Ambulatory staff can automate checks relating to the presence of life-saving equipment, and significantly improve the proper usage and management of inventories.
As an overview, the key benefits of deploying RFID technologies are as follows:
- Automate entire inventory logging process
- Ensure medication and general asset lifecycles are automatically logged, alerting clinicians when shelf lives are nearing expiry
- Eliminate need for manual scanning of assets
- Deliver visibility of full asset journeys (from entry into hospitals, through storeroom movements, to point of care and beyond)
- Locate critical equipment in real-time (to their exact spot within a ward or store)
Case Study: East Midlands Ambulance Service Uses RFID Technology To Track Critical Equipment
East Midland Ambulance Service (EMAS) employs more than 650 emergency vehicles, each of which carries vital equipment such as defibrillators. EMAS adopted an Android-based RFID system to improve equipment monitoring, maintenance and compliance procedures.
Vision: Like many hospitals, EMAS wanted to be able to find kit and know that it was safe for patient use, having passed all compliance tests. With 650 vehicles across six counties, each carrying several pieces of vital life-saving equipment, EMAS needed a system that could monitor equipment efficiently and effectively, while helping the Trust to continually track and improve procedures.
Solution: EMAS attached RFID tags to critical equipment, all of which could be scanned by fixed and mobile readers. As these readers could detect tags from up to two-meters away, information such as serial numbers could be automatically communicated to EMAS’ central database. This system now provides hospital staff with real-time information relating to kit locations and condition, helping them to efficiently and effectively manage their life-saving equipment.
How To Adopt Modern Healthcare Solutions
MiTEQ's experts have been delivering enterprise mobility solutions to the likes of Healthcare operations for decades. We can help you digitise inventory management systems, improve asset visibility, and realise new efficiencies in the most cost-effective way.
Having worked with some of the UK's top care providers, we look forward to using our experience to add value to a great many more projects, and welcome you to reach out if you have project aspirations that could be bettered by the help and support of our team.