RFID Inventory Management Medline
  • Created the 28 from June from 2021

The control of disease starts with inventory management

Controlling hospital inventory is critical to ensure that patients can be treated in the best possible way.  If the right products aren’t available where and when they are needed, it can lead to cancelled surgeries, delayed treatments and wasted time and resources. Fortune-500 company Medline launched an RFID-based stock monitoring solution to improve inventory accuracy, efficiency and ensure better patient care.

Overall, the healthcare industry, from clinics to labs and family practices to hospitals, uses a vast amount of specialized equipment, materials and medications to serve patients. If any assets get stolen, lost or damaged, this can lead to unfortunate consequences. Also, it can create a bad reputation for the healthcare facility. Insufficient inventory management, lack of data, lack of standardization and inefficient practices can all contribute to a system that is costly and ineffective. Given the increasing need to become more financially prudent and operationally efficient, healthcare organizations are looking more and more at product flows throughout the hospital as a potential area where costs can be optimized. 

How inventory management helps in overcoming the challenges

That’s why proper tracking of materials and devices is very important. To store and organize these medical supplies, efficient inventory management practices are vital. If inventory isn’t tracked, it not only adversely impacts organizational operations, causing staff to spend way too much time on finding inventory, but could risk lives if certain items aren’t accessible where and when they are needed. This is where Global healthcare partner Medline is able to add value, by managing this inventory on the hospital’s behalf, with efficient, automated processes.

Medline, together with system integrator Dipole RFID, have developed a solution using RFID technology to control stock levels of sterile procedure trays, which ensures that the right stock is always available, allowing the hospital to focus on the important task of caring for their patients.

Each sterile procedure tray contains an Avery Dennison Smartrac RAIN RFID (UHF) tag featuring the item number, lot number and expiration date. An RFID reader installed at the entrance of the surgical storage area tracks the replenishment and consumption of each individual surgical pack, providing inventory control in real time. With this hands-free solution, manual stock counting or barcode scanning by hospital staff is no longer necessary. The system tracks which materials are low in stock, and how many are available. It compares the actual stock levels with how much stock there should be, and can generate a replenishment order to fill up the missing stock quantity.

Decrease in inventory shrink and improved employee performance 

Medstock, the Medline inventory management system gathers the information and makes it available to the hospital using reports and graphs, which enables hospitals to monitor their stock levels in a more efficient way. It improves data transparency, allowing hospitals to make better decisions based on the quantity of products they have consumed.

Here, digital ID technologies like RFID provide three main advantages: proper inventory management, purchasing efficiency and time-saving. Combined with MedStock, this technology can even create automatic replenishment orders based on actual inventory levels and defined order points.

"After implementing an RFID-based inventory management system, hospital customers typically report a 99.98 % decrease in inventory shrink, and improved employee performance because of having a better tool to work with. The new solution achieves, among other advantages, improved staff satisfaction, up to 15% time savings in surgical preparation, and reduced order processing time and labor costs"

Santiago Depares, CEO at Dipole RFID

One good example of how RFID can make hospital operations more efficient is La Princesa Hospital in Madrid. “The RFID system allows the customer to control the stock in the warehouse in real time without the need for hospital staff intervention. The solution ensures greater stock control and better availability of surgical packs, so that the hospital always has the necessary materials,” says Steve Tedder, Senior Sales Logistic Manager, Medline Industries, Ltd. 

Without effective inventory control, you can’t react in a timely way when supplies have been depleted and need to be re-ordered. RFID increases accuracy and saves time as well as money. When hospital inventories are managed effectively, it reduces the stress surrounding surgeries, and -- much more significant for any healthcare organization -- it can ensure better patient care.

What components are part of the RFID system?

The tailored RFID system for surgical components uses Avery Dennison Smartrac’s Shortdipole inlays, featuring Impinj R6P chip hardware. It also uses the Impinj xSpan Gateway fixed RFID reader system, and terminals powered by Zebra RFD8500. RFID inventory software provided by DataSuite manages both fixed and mobile readers to provide the correct data about the stock and its movement.