How To Create Accountability With RFID Technology
The procedural areas of hospitals, including the Cath and EP Labs, Interventional Radiology and the Operating Rooms, typically go through tens of millions of dollars per year in expensive implants and supplies. With so many different individuals – from reps, to techs, to nurses, to physicians – touching those expensive supplies, what can hospitals do to make sure that individuals are being held accountable for making good decisions with these expensive assets?
Whether with good or bad intentions, staff will inevitably make poor decisions from time-to-time with your expensive supplies and implants that could be costing your hospital hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year. These poor decisions can result in such outcomes as unnecessarily expired inventory, poorly documented or undocumented item use, supply loss or shrinkage, frequent stock-outs and bloated inventories.
Just like any other industry, hospitals must hold their employees accountable for financial decisions that affect their bottom line. The case may even be even more acute in healthcare, where razor-thin margins can be impacted by a small improvement or drop in supply management practices.
In order to introduce employee accountability into supply management decisions, many hospitals have turned to RFID technology. Using RFID tags to track items and a series of sensors to read them at various locations throughout a campus can give hospitals visibility into their expensive supplies that can’t be had through manual or semi-manual (e.g. bar-code, push-button) processes.
The foremost way that RFID technology can increase accountability is by keeping a perpetually accurate count of items on hand. With RFID cabinet systems, such as iRISupply from Mobile Aspects, eyeballing inventory to find expiring items or to calculate re-order levels become a thing of the past. The RFID technology replaces all antiquated inventory management systems with a real-time inventory count that can be as accurate as 99% ˗ which is 15% higher than typical experiences with manually intensive systems such as bar-codes, push-buttons or eyeballing. With this technology in place, on-hand inventory counts become much more accurate and product expirations can be reduced or even eliminated.
RFID cabinet systems like iRISupply also keep your expensive supplies and implants behind closed doors. This simple idea can have an outsized effect on your bottom-line. Because employees and reps now know that all of their inventory transactions are being recorded by the RFID cabinets automatically, they tend to act more responsibly with their decisions. For example, if items aren’t use in a procedure, employees will be more likely to return it to the cabinets than to dispose of it because they know the unused item can be traced back to them. Small psychological “nudges” like these can save your hospital untold amounts of wasted spend. Push-button or bar-code based systems open up your hospital to undocumented shrinkage that RFID technology can eliminate.
Another way RFID technology such as iRISupply can help increase accountability is by keeping accurate data about inventory usage. Built-in data analytics arm you with the data you need to make the best re-ordering and stocking decisions possible. iRISupply will not only provide you with the usage data and reports you need, but will take it one step further and provide actionable recommendations about which products are overstocked, understocked or that can even be eliminated altogether. Mobile Aspects supply chain experts will also sit down with you quarterly as part of a best-in-class customer success program to discuss strategies to optimize your inventory mix and review the data behind those suggestions. By closely managing PAR levels and setting up interfaces for automatic re-ordering, supply management practices can be greatly improved.