Sensors can determine how tagged items move through the hospital.
Clinicians can be partners to supply
chain professionals in pushing for and
implementing advanced technologies
to manage the inventory. RFID-enabled solutions, for example, can
manage the inventory all the way to
the point of care and usage tracking
and documentation, while providing
the associated visibility and accuracy.
The benefits not only accrue to the
supply chain functions, but also to
the clinicians, and ultimately to the
Surgeons will have the product
they need, when they need it, unexpired, and at the lowest possible true
cost because of the elimination of
inherent inefficiencies. They will have
the accurate data needed to understand utilization and manage toward
standardization that reduces the total
cost of care delivery.
There has been discussion about
the frustration physicians have
with electronic record-keeping
and other digital tools. How can
technology be smartly employed to
make healthcare practitioners’ jobs
The best supply chain solutions are
intuitive and free up time so healthcare practitioners can focus on patient
care. Solutions that are easy to use
tend to be accepted quickly, and
RFID-enabled supply chain technologies are being developed with minimal
need for human intervention.
For example, Cardinal Health’s
smart RFID cabinets automatically
capture the model, size, lot number,
serial number, and expiration date of
RFID-tagged medical devices placed
in them. There is no need for recording or scanning these products in and
out of inventory, or for time consuming barcode-based periodic counts.
The inventory profile of the depart-
ment is always automatically updated
with the information from the smart
cabinet. In addition, when a product
expires or is recalled, the clinician is
automatically alerted on the product’s
location, down to the exact room and
cabinet, in order to remove it from the
What kind of feedback loops should
be created to make certain surgical
teams and value analysis committees are simultaneously working
toward fiscal responsibility and
patient care without compromising
It’s important that surgical teams and
value analysis committees work closely from the beginning to understand
the value and agree on a shared goal.
We find there is often better success
implementing new supply chain technology by starting on a smaller scale,
in a single department for example,
and then building on that foundation.
This can be a very effective way to
learn, assess the benefits, and refine
before continuing to scale.