How healthcare asset tracking can reduce the strain on your facility’s finances
Healthcare facilities are under constant pressure to cut costs, drive efficiencies and improve patient care. One of the biggest challenges in addressing these pressures is how to reduce the burden of misplaced or stolen assets – these are expensive and can lead to increased purchase costs, time wasted looking for critical resources, and impacts on patient care when it comes to the availability of urgently-needed items.
As the number of medical devices in hospitals rises and the number of those devices per bed grows, the actual cost per bed has risen by as much as 90% in recent years. Equipment such as IV and other pumps, endoscopes, gurneys, crash carts, beds, wheelchairs, blood pressure and ECG monitors, bladder scanners and sterilizable trays can often go missing.
A study by VHA, Inc. stated that on average, U.S. hospitals spend almost $4,000 per bed each year replacing lost or stolen equipment and supplies, which translates into $2 million dollars per year for a typical 500-bed hospital. Keeping a check on precious healthcare equipment has never been more critical.
The impact of asset loss on patient care
In particular, being unable to track down medical equipment can be hugely detrimental to patient health. Critical equipment becomes unavailable and, if retrieved, the assets are not always in an ideal working condition because their state was unknown, affecting the quality of patient care.
Studies have shown that nurses spend over twenty minutes per shift searching for misplaced medical equipment  . Meanwhile, some hospitals purchase 20-50% more assets than necessary to ensure staff have what they need when they need it, while most equipment has only a 50% utilization rate.
When lost equipment is retrieved, it may not be service-ready because of damage or contamination. Tracking equipment can be a full-time job – for example, finding a $150 wheelchair can hijack staff time and cost thousands of dollars.
Freeing up staff to focus on what they do best
An effective asset tracking solution can provide real-time information to staff about your precious assets, maximizing their use, guarding against theft and loss, saving time wasted looking for equipment and providing better quality of patient care.
Anecdotal evidence reveals that hospital employees can spend up to four hours searching for special-use hospital beds, while nurses will often hide equipment so that they know it will be available when they need it to ensure the provision of a high standard of care.
With the installation of the right real-time asset location system, hospitals could simplify their asset tracking workflow to help improve efficiencies by ensuring proper inter-department charge-outs, maximizing asset utilization, and staying up-to-date with scheduled maintenance.
An effective system could also provide accurate floor discrimination so you always know where equipment is located regardless of building complexity and can generate different levels of reports for inventory audits when you need them. Knowing where, and how, your assets are being used is crucial to service delivery and efficient utilization.
Continuous equipment and asset visibility
GuardRFID’s Hospital RTLS / Active RFID Asset Tracking solution provides real-time visibility of your assets and enables staff to quickly find the equipment they need to offer the best possible patient care. Our small, low profile, long lasting tags, combined with our AllGuard software, provide a real-time view of the location and status of your equipment.
Unlike other platforms, GuardRFID’s Asset Tracking presents a strong immunity to wireless interference, with zero impact on local Wi-Fi networks. The solution allows your staff to spend more time on providing care, minimizing asset loss and improving utilization rates.
The solution uses GuardRFID infrastructure and AllGuard enterprise software to identify tags, manage tag rules, activate alarms and control doors if required. Each piece of equipment is assigned a tag – its location is seen in real-time, while software activates alarms when tagged items move from secured areas.
By integrating long-range RTLS and close-range portal detection in a single system, the solution provides a unique element of floor discrimination. Support of the IHE PCD standards allows the status of certain assets, such as IV Pumps, to be viewed from the AllGuard Client software.
To learn more about monitoring your assets and ensuring your staff have equipment access to provide the best patient care, visit https://www.guardrfid.com/healthcare-rtls/asset-tracking/