RFID for real-time asset tracking in healthcare

April 22, 2020

Healthcare, Medical Devices

Healthcare facilities have an equipment problem.

In 1995, the average patient had eight medical devices at bedside. With advances in technology, by 2010 that number had grown to 13, and it continues to grow.

Caregivers are busy with patients – they don’t have time to catalog and track where expensive patient care and diagnostic assets are in a facility, and often equipment is unaccounted for. This presents problems:

  • When hospital staff has a hard time finding mobile assets, they often hoard that equipment when they find it available. This makes items unavailable to others at the facility.
  • When items can’t be located, healthcare systems often need to purchase or rent more equipment, duplicating assets to ensure that caregivers have access to what they need when they need it – and doubling spending.
  • Unavailable equipment can put a patient at risk. In critical care surroundings, immediate access to a mobile asset may mean the difference between life and death.

To ensure patient safety and protect the bottom line, more healthcare facilities are beginning to adopt automated asset management systems, or also called Real Time Location Strategy (RLTS). By creating a network of sensors and tags, mobile medical equipment like ECGs, infusers, beds and wheelchairs can can be traced, catalogued and located in real time using RFID technology: sensors placed throughout a facility recognize a tagged item as it passes by, logs its location and transmits that data to a central site. Some RFID asset management software even offers app-based tracking and location, making finding the right equipment when and where it’s needed as close as a healthcare worker’s mobile device.

RFID improves patient safety, increases staff productivity, and reduces healthcare costs. And by enabling immediate location information of mobile equipment, RFID tags encoded by BarTender can help make the right equipment available at the right time. BarTender's simple, intuitive Intelligent Templates™ are the heart of RLTS in healthcare, making encoding of RFID tags is as easy as creating a barcode. Just select an RFID printer on your network as your label’s destination, and BarTender does the work for you, from serialization to security and access.

BarTender enables seamless integration with most third-party asset management software packages, and provides the system interoperability that increases labeling accuracy and improves efficiencies throughout the healthcare supply chain.

 

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