How RFID Can Streamline Your Hospital’s Supply Chain

With hospitals turning over every cushion to find new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality of care, RFID technology is coming up more often as a worthwhile technology to consider in order to save millions of dollars per year. One of the most effective use cases for RFID technology in healthcare is to track expensive supplies and implants used in the PeriOperative environments of hospitals.

With so much waste in the healthcare supply chain, RFID technology can help by bringing an Internet of Things (IOT) approach to expensive assets in hospitals. Every PeriOperative area of a hospital has numerous supplies and implants that cost anywhere between $500 to $50,000, and can add up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in on-hand inventory. Some of these products are moving at rapid velocities, while others are sitting on the shelf until they expire and are replenished. With so much happening in these busy surgical areas, it’s understandable that employees are unaware of the money being wasted on supplies. After all, they’re too busy keeping an eye on patients, where they should be – not on their supplies. That’s why RFID technology can add so much value to these busy areas, since they can keep an “eye” on these expensive supplies 24×7.

Having a second pair of eyes on your expensive inventory can yield numerous benefits to your hospital’s supply chain. This article by Meeta Ramnani at Enterprise Talk discusses three primary benefits of RFID/IoT technology in a hospital setting:

Developing a holistic view of the supply chain

Hospitals can leverage IoT to enable data analytics with their cloud-based, system-wide inventory management. This can help connect products and processes with their actual cost. Experts opine that now healthcare supply chain is not just about manufacturing, transporting and distributing products; to properly evaluate the value chain it has to be viewed holistically and encompass the direct as well as the indirect costs. This type of system-wide valuation demands a lot of data that can be collected, visualized, aggregated, and acted upon.

Improve the efficiency of clinical staff

According to the Cardinal Health Supply Chain Survey that included responses of 600,000 medical professionals in the US, 42% of professionals believe that supply chain work takes time away from patient care.  Almost 45% of frontline providers also said that the manual supply chain tasks even has a “somewhat” or “very” negative impact on patient care. IoT’s connectivity and data-sharing capabilities can be used to free the frontline staff from such inventory-related burdens. Experts advise using the advanced product-tracking technologies as well as the automated systems to help alleviate the stress of supply chain tasks and get the clinicians back to their patients.

IoT to improve accuracy, speed, as well as spend

Experts consider the healthcare supply chain as a strategic asset that has the potential to yield significant financial savings. They believe that IoT is key to propelling that change. Doctors, nurses, and surgeons have a considerable stake in improving the supply chain operations. An overwhelming 94% of the medical professionals that were surveyed identify the correlation between supply chain management and financial success.

These clinicians look at the benefits of improving the hospital supply chain, which includes appropriately balancing inventory levels to match usage patterns, freeing up capital, reducing and adequately managing product expirations, and reducing patient risk to improve the accuracy and speed of supply chain management.

Data generated from IoT connectivity provides visibility across the organization enabling proper management of consignment, product and workflow standardization, and accurate clinical documentation across entire enterprises.”

Read the full article at: 3 Ways to Leverage IoT in the Healthcare Supply Chain

One company that leverages IoT technology to bring a more transparent supply chain to hospitals is Mobile Aspects. Their iRISupply solution collects real-time data around supply and implant usage with RFID technology and provides actionable insights to help with vendor negotiations, on-hand inventory levels and owned-consigned item mix. Powerful data analytics included with the software give specific recommendations on which items to reduce or eliminate, and which items should be owned vs. consigned, leading to millions of dollars in cost-savings opportunities. The system is also completely interoperable with Epic, Cerner and other EMR vendors, helping to drive powerful insights by looking across your clinical systems. These cost-savings opportunities can help hospitals increase their margins and could contribute tens of millions of dollars to their bottom line.