Preventing equipment loss in hospitals and emergency services with asset intelligence

Asset intelligence technology is poised to gain traction in the global healthcare and emergency services industry sectors in an effort to combat the staggering amount of assets which disappear due to loss or theft.

The cost of hospital equipment loss – an eye opener

A whitepaper by Frost & Sullivan for GE Healthcare found that missing mobile equipment costs Australian hospitals AU$64M+ a year, even before accounting for the lost time nurses spend searching for assets [estimated at 30 minutes per shift = 32,500 hours per day = AU$957K+ per day in salaries] and the resulting impact on patient safety. A similar study done in the US estimated that lost/stolen equipment contributes somewhere between US$4K to US$8K to per-bed-costs.

We also see an increased frequency of incident reports, such as when a single medical centre had more than US$11M in medical equipment disappear over a 5 year period or when a critical $8500 baby monitoring device was stolen from a Brisbane hospital last year.

Solving asset visibility/traceability in hospitals and emergency services

It is in this environment that demand for asset intelligence technology is growing. A Markets and Markets report indicated that the health sector asset management market is expected to rise by 34.6% CAGR and reach nearly US$30M by 2020 up from US$6,700M in 2015.

RTLS and RFID technology has been around for decades and often touted as the solution, however without the right software to manage the data – and specifically a system that manages unique item-level serialisation – it won’t solve the asset visibility/traceability problem and reach its potential.

Hospitals need systems – like assetDNA from Relegen – which can unambiguously identify the specific asset they need, when they need it. Benefits include:

• Increased productivity – with fast and accurate inventories and audits.
• Reduced costs – by eliminating unnecessary equipment searches and purchases.
• Better quality care – Care is more efficient, increased time to spend with patients.
• Improved safety and compliance – Electronic audit trails about the full history and movement of equipment, or expiration dates, for managing decontamination processes and product recalls

Early adopters

Michigan Medicine, one of the world’s largest healthcare complexes, uses a combination of Wi-Fi, active RFID tags on assets, ultrasound exciters, and a software data management platform, in order to understand where tens of thousands of items are throughout its facility. The next step is understanding their status based on location – such as in a patient room – as well as its history. Similarly, Northern Westchester Hospital in New York State built passive RFID technology into its existing operational management system to understand when equipment left or entered specific zones. Here in Australia, Sydney’s Liverpool hospital has deployed an RFID-based system [LF RFID tags + RFID smart fridge] for accurate check in/check out and cold chain compliance of blood products.

How assetDNA can help

assetDNA is a highly-configurable software-tagging-mobile solution that can be deployed via the cloud or on-premises and used to alleviate the costs and risks associated with the large amount of missing medical equipment in health care settings. Key to the system is the secure allocation and management of global unique identifiers that can be attached to any item, including staff and patients, to provide hospital-wide visibility with unsurpassed granularity as that item passes through workflows and lifecycles. It can work with any asset tagging technology as well as multiple technologies at once. To learn more about assetDNA, or to request an online demonstration, please contact us on +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or sales@relegen.com.