Let’s start with an analogy. Have you ever been running out of the front door and suddenly realised you have no idea where your purse, wallet, car keys or other assorted daily must-haves are? It’s frustrating isn’t it, especially when in a rush. Now, think about this in a busy hospital scenario, replacing the purse, wallet and keys with a myriad of hospital equipment, from beds to life-saving medical devices – struggling to locate them could be pretty stressful. Finally, think how transformative it would be to be able to locate these items immediately. That’s where X-Tracking™ comes in. At Lyngsoe Systems, we’ve developed a solution that uses RFID technology to fix this exact problem. Well, the medical challenge, we can’t help you find your car keys!
For busy hospitals in the current climate, logistics is more critical than ever to ensure they can deliver a more efficient and, most importantly, safe service for patients. Not being able to locate the correct medical device at the point of need, be it an infusion pump, syringe driver, patient hoist or dynamic mattress, can have a profoundly negative impact – not only on the medical staff and patient with the immediate requirement, but also on the wider operations of the entire hospital.
The first issue – medical staff must spend valuable time searching for the required item if it can’t be found at the point of need. This impacts time and, in turn, cost. Then comes the effects it may have on patient care and safety. Not having the correct tools for the job runs the risk of the cancellation of appointments and treatments, and could be, at worst, life threatening.
Add to this the inability to maintain an asset if you don’t know where it is – some devices may miss their scheduled maintenance dates and risk being used when faulty, causing further threats to patient safety. The challenges don’t stop there. Think about time-consuming procurement processes to replace medical devices that already exist but are simply lost, growing patient wait times and the impact on patient flow – the problems start to become a black hole of inefficiency and risk.
Now let’s consider some of these core challenges with real-world examples. Nursing staff on average spend 21 minutes locating equipment during every shift, hospitals generally spend 25% more on equipment than required due to poor location data and NHS Trusts have had hundreds of mattresses missing at any one time.* There must be a solution to help mitigate some of these challenges.
Introducing X-Tracking™, our RFID solution for healthcare. X-Tracking™ is a GS1 approved, web-based application that provides real-time tracking of hospital assets, from medical devices to safety equipment, using RFID technology. It can track unlimited assets at the same time, making it perfectly suited to busy healthcare environments with thousands of items in circulation.
Each hospital asset is labelled with an RFID tag and barcode, which is read by RFID antennas installed at logistic choke points throughout the hospital. When each asset passes through a choke point, its location is automatically updated in X-Tracking™. The labels can also be read by mobile in areas that are not covered by a choke-point RFID reader.
As hospitals commonly have very large numbers of medical equipment and devices that require tracking, we advise using passive tags – the most affordable RFID technology – that are PET coated to withstand regular disinfection and washing cycles. The alternative, active tags, are continuously operating, battery-powered sensors that gather and transmit data to a reading device. These are more commonly used in the transportation sector to track larger equipment, such as cargo containers and vehicles.
It’s clear that being able to easily locate medical equipment in a hospital can not only save time and money, but it can significantly improve patient safety and care. Today’s hospitals are fast-paced, high-stress environments and the situation is worsening – 44% of NHS staff reported feeling unwell as the result of work-related stress in 2020 (up from 40% in 2019).** An RFID solution like X-Tracking™ can be truly transformative for operational efficiencies and, if it goes some way to helping alleviate stress for hospital staff, we are even prouder of our innovation.
*Brendan Crossey, Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Analytics Limited [Open Access Government]
**2020 National NHS Staff Survey [The Co-ordination Centre (Picker Institute Europe)]
Let’s save you time. Our newsletter brings you a compilation of the latest news, events, product announcements directly to your inbox a few times a year.
Let’s save you time. Our newsletter “SPOTLIGHT” brings you a compilation of latest news, events, product announcements directly to your inbox a few times a year.