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RFID for Medical Devices: Top 5 Benefits for Hospitals

Asset tracking systems help hospitals and medical facilities manage a wide range of devices and instruments. But many systems are outdated, unreliable and error-prone, adding time and cost to what is supposed to be an efficient process. In this post, we take a look at the top five ways RFID can help.

Benefit #1: Simplified Asset Management & Financial Audits

Regular audits are essential to both asset management and financial due diligence – and they’re also the only way to know exactly what assets you have. But conducting them is a time-consuming process, as hospitals have thousands of assets to track.

Tracking healthcare assets with RFID enables you to gather asset data in a fraction of the time it would take to manually locate your assets.

With RFID, hospital staff can walk into rooms with RFID reader in hand and capture asset data with the pull of the trigger. This eliminates the labor involved in trying to identify the assets by reading an asset label or barcode. It also eliminates errors created in transcription and provides more accurate data for financial records.

Benefit #2: Streamlined Preventative Maintenance

Patient outcomes depend heavily on a hospital’s ability to properly utilize and maintain its medical devices.

But before you can conduct maintenance, repairs and overhaul (MRO) on an asset, you have to find it. And that’s easier said than done. The average hospital has thousands of assets. Many of them are mobile, moving from room to room and department to department. Locating an individual device can be very time consuming.

RFID allows hospital staff to streamline the process of locating equipment in need of maintenance. And once you’ve located the asset, you can use RFID to track it through the MRO process.

Benefit #3: Rapid Device Recalls & Sunsetting

Quickly locating recalled medical devices is essential to keeping defective equipment out of use. But when you track your assets with serial numbers or barcodes, it can be difficult to locate the defective assets fast enough. That’s because you have to manually review each asset, and don’t have location data to narrow your search.

RFID solves this problem by pulling hundreds of serial numbers in seconds, giving you instant, accurate location data. This allows you to complete a recall by simply walking through your facility with an RFID reader and a list of recalled serial numbers.

Similar to device recalls, hospitals also need to a way to mitigate the liability from expired devices. RFID software enables you to track data such as the age or number of uses of an asset. Then, you can use automation to rapidly locate the expired devices. This enable hospitals to prevent accidental use of sunset devices while reducing associated labor costs.

Benefit #4: Differentiates Your Assets from Consignment Inventory

How do you tell the difference between consignment inventory and hospital-owned assets?

Accurately answering this question is the only way to prevent accidental losses of expensive medical equipment. Unfortunately, many hospitals still rely on serial numbers and barcodes to track their assets. Identifying ownership using these methods is very difficult.

RFID makes differentiating assets much easier. When you securely mount or embed RFID tags in your assets, you can know with certainty which assets you own and which are rentals with a quick scan of room.

Benefit #5: Loss Prevention

Medical devices are a significant investment for hospitals. And losing one has a significant financial impact. Despite this, mobile assets are fairly easy to lose, as they can easily be moved between departments or even out of the facility by a practitioner or a patient.

By tagging assets and then placing RFID portals in strategic locations, hospitals can be alerted when assets are moving outside their designated areas of use. This aids in ensuring devices are properly accounted for, and are not simply classified as ‘lost’ when the next audit rolls around.

Conclusion

RFID provides an automated and far more reliable way to track healthcare assets. Using it can help hospitals collect better data, reduce labor costs and streamline their mission-critical processes.

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