RFID Provides Better Hospital Equipment Tracking

Jul 20, 2021

When patient volume is at high levels, hospitals have a high demand to meet. One of the best ways to achieve better hospital workflow is with better equipment tracking and management. Hospital staff members are always under a lot of pressure, and they don’t have the time to search for the mobile assets they need, such as monitors and IV pumps. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to track these items, less time is spent looking for items, and more time is spent getting people well and saving lives. When these items are tagged with RFID transponders and linked to a real-time monitoring system (RTMS), hospitals can ensure they physically remain within the building. At the same time, staff can more easily locate the closest available equipment, especially in time-critical situations. RFID tagging is also proving to be a superior method of recording the unique device identification (UDI) for each piece of equipment as mandated by the FDA, more effective than printed labels, which may become illegible over time.

Equipment Location & Condition

RFID tracking systems are much more accurate than manual tracking or systems that require multiple infrastructures to function. The system can help with the tracking of medical equipment, devices, supplies, and bed tracking. Asset tracking reliability is increased and delivered at the application level. Visibility is improved, allowing the location and condition of equipment to be determined at a glance. Aside from streamlining the asset management and tracking process, a single infrastructure is installed and managed, which makes RFID tracking even more practical. RFID helps hospital staff immediately locate and view the condition of the equipment they need; tags scan the equipment and supplies before and after use. After use, the storage location and condition can be logged so that the next person in need of that piece of equipment doesn’t have to doubt the location or functionality of the piece. Lives depend on this information being quickly available and correct. Using RFID to track medical equipment also improves compliance. When everything is tracked well and used as it should be, and processes are streamlined, compliance is improved.

Hygiene compliance requires that reusable equipment is cleaned and sterilized before being returned to inventory. Keeping track of equipment in this way also makes it easier to replace equipment that’s no longer in use. That way, the equipment can be properly disposed of, and replacements can be immediately ordered. This prevents a nurse or other staff member from hooking up a piece of equipment in an emergency and finding that it doesn’t work. Before such tracking methods existed, hospitals would have closets of old equipment. Some of it may have still been functional, and other pieces may not have been. It was easier for malfunctioning equipment to be mixed in with functioning equipment instead of sent for repair when needed. Asset management and tracking were done manually, which left a lot of room for human error. Equipment that should have been in a specific place may have been placed somewhere else, causing a medical staff member to spend more time than necessary searching for what they need.

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