Keeping track of inventory is important in every industry, but in healthcare it can be a matter of life and death. But tracking hospital assets—from disposable items like gloves, plastic vials and gauze to bottles and boxes containing medication, medical tools and equipment—can be time-consuming. According to a study by Nursing Times
, nurses can spend an hour or more during a shift looking for supplies (that’s about 40 hours a month)—time they could devote to patient care.
A new paradigm in hospital inventory tracking
To improve efficiency, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are turning to RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and sensors to streamline and improve the accuracy of asset tracking. The tags and/or sensors are attached to or embedded into individual items and/or boxes and containers. Readers located throughout the facility track the whereabouts of the assets at all times, so hospital personnel equipped with mobile or web apps know where they need to go to get them.
The advantage of using IoT technology is that it not only can track the items but also gather and analyze data. They can issue weekly, monthly and on-demand reports on how different departments use various items—information that can help hospital staff make decisions on improving efficiency. IoT solutions can even automate certain tasks. For example, when a hospital is nearly out of a certain medication, an IoT solution can place a new order.
The benefits of smart asset tracking in hospitals
- Prevents loss and theft—When an item leaves a designated area without authorization, an IoT system generates an alert to inform hospital security.
- Cuts down on wasted spending—With a better read on inventory levels, hospitals don’t place unnecessary orders and can identify areas where products are being wasted or used inefficiently. They also have more information with which to forecast demand.
- Improves staff morale and job satisfaction—Nurses and other hospital personnel spend less time looking for supplies and can devote more time to patients.
With healthcare costs continually escalating, smart asset tracking makes a lot of sense—and is definitely an investment your healthcare customers should consider if they haven’t already done so. For guidance on finding the right solution, contact our IoT experts