The good news is that an Internet of Things approach can solve many of the medical device supply chain’s most significant inefficiency problems. It’s an approach built on three pillars:
- A cloud platform for data sharing, analysis, visualization and action
- User-centric and clinically-minded design and workflows, to ensure ease-of-use and drive compliance
- All enabled by highly accurate, advanced RFID tracking technology
Imagine you could place RFID-tagged, high-value medical devices and implantables in an RFID smart cabinet, and model number, serial number, expiration date, cost, and purchase order would automatically show up in the hospital’s inventory profile.
Imagine an RFID smart cabinet performing 20,000 automated inventory counts per year, to near perfect accuracy, without any human involvement, and sending automatic alerts when products are removed, expired, recalled, or out of stock. What if clinical documentation were as easy as waving a product by an RFID reader, so clinicians could stop worrying about inventory and focus more time on their patients?
Imagine that data that can be collected from this Internet of Things, from RFID smart cabinets, point-of-use stations, RFID tagged products, web portals, handheld RFID readers and mobile apps. Imagine that all of that data could be aggregated and analyzed in the procedural department or the operating room, then at the hospital or IDN enterprise level, ready to drive action that saves money and time.
Now, imagine you don’t have to wait—because the future is now. The functionality to make each of these scenarios a reality has been available for years, and we are implementing it right now.
As we speak, hospitals are utilizing automated data collection technology and advanced analytics as a management tool, made possible by RFID. They’re greatly reducing and properly balancing inventory levels to match usage patterns, freeing up valuable capital to be deployed to other patient care priorities. They’re reducing and properly managing product expirations freeing up capital and reducing patient risk. Clinicians have more time to focus purely on patients, resulting in increased patient care and satisfaction.
Today, the data gleaned from this connectivity is also enabling proper management of consignment, accurate clinical documentation, and product and workflow standardization across entire enterprises. In preparation for bundled payments, systems can understand, manage, and control the true product cost of care.
And inventory management is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the Internet of Things will impact healthcare. It has the potential to pay even bigger dividends in the future.
It can connect patients, caregivers and healthcare providers to data that helps deliver better outcomes outside the “four walls” of the hospital. It can deliver real-time product usage data to help manufacturers improve the way they plan and develop products—and increase the efficiency with which they’re delivered to the point of care. It can arm individual patients with tailor-made strategies to combat illnesses, and with the social technologies they need to take control of their own health.