Medical Devices Tracking in Hospitals

Discover the importance of medical devices tracking in hospitals. Learn how RFID technology ensures patient safety, correct device use, and simplifies audits for better efficiency and accountability.

Why is medical devices tracking in hospitals important?

Hospitals are hugely busy places with many moving parts. To be able to function efficiently, it’s imperative that hospitals and healthcare environments understand exactly what medical devices they have in their inventory and where they can find them. Mobile medical devices form a large part of this; however, by their very non-static nature, this means they are easy to misplace or lose.

Medical device is a broad description for an instrument, apparatus, appliance or machine used for medical purposes. In the context of tracking mobile medical devices in hospitals, we should break down the term into categories of risk.

Low risk devices are categorized as Class I. This includes equipment such as nonelectric wheelchairs, bandages and some handheld surgical instruments. These are items with low to moderate risk to patient health and safety. They normally require minimal or less regular maintenance compared to medium or high risk equipment.

Medium and high risk devices are categorized as Class II and III (10% of all medical devices fall into the latter). These are devices that sustain or support life, are implanted, or present potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury if faulty or not maintained, including ventilators, defibrillators and syringe drivers. Due to the level of risk, Class II and III devices require regular planned preventative maintenance (PPM) to ensure they are in full working order and safe to use.

Medical devices tracking using RFID technology is important for all three classes of devices to provide visibility and access to the required equipment for the delivery of patient care. However, in regard to patient safety, the tracking of Class II and III devices is critical as patient safety could be jeopardized if the equipment is not locatable either for use or maintenance. 

At Lyngsoe Systems, we have developed a GS1 approved medical devices tracking solution, Lyngsoe X-Tracking™. Using RFID technology to track equipment, X-Tracking™ captures real-time data on the location of all registered medical devices. This provides the visibility needed to easily locate assets and ensure servicing and maintenance is carried out efficiently, minimizing the risk to patient safety.

How medical devices tracking supports the correct use of equipment

In addition to servicing and maintenance, many medical devices require specific training for healthcare professional to be able to operate them correctly. In some cases, certifications are required to use devices. If a clinician is not professionally trained in using a device, the patient in their care is at risk of being harmed.

Medical devices tracking to ensure the right type of medical devices are at the right wards where clinicians are trained in using them is important in mitigating this risk as some pieces of equipment look remarkably similar. This means that, without RFID asset tracking in place, a Class II or III medical device could be mistaken for another device and a healthcare worker could use it without the proper training, causing significant risk to the patient. Additionally, there is a risk of damaging the equipment through the user’s lack of knowledge.

Using RFID-Tracking for audits and governance

Medical devices costing more than £5,000 must be registered on the capital asset register to comply with NHS policy. Within the NHS, this register provides evidence and accountability of public spending. Every year, hospitals must carry out an audit and report on the exact quantity of any medical equipment on the capital asset register. If they’re not able to locate these items easily, the task will be incredibly challenging, time consuming and highly inaccurate.

With a robust asset tracking system, like X-Tracking™, in place, this can be achieved at the touch of a button, making the annual reporting process quick and easy. This supports compliance and finance teams in their auditing challenges. In addition, the visibility of expensive assets also helps clinical engineering teams to effectively manage stock levels, which prevents the unnecessary procurement of lost or misplaced medical devices, improving efficiency in public spending.

How medical devices tracking benefits hospitals and patients:

Benefits for hospitals

  • Provides real-time visibility of medical devices
  • Enables efficient maintenance of medium and high risk assets
  • Saves time locating medical equipment
  • Reduces patient risk
  • Supports accurate auditing of hospital equipment
  • Improves efficiencies in procurement

Benefits for patients

  • Improves patient care
  • Improves patient safety
  • Improves the patient experience
  • Reduces wait times

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