By Dale Quayle, CEO, RF Code
There are so many unprecedented pressures on healthcare facilities these days as adequate staffing continues to be a major challenge, medical devices are vulnerable, and even how devices are manufactured is changing. Two years into a global pandemic, the industry has had to quickly pivot and find new, innovative ways to treat patients while also tackling these problems as part of their day-to-day.
Nothing can replace the value healthcare workers provide so it’s unfortunate they’re bogged down with time-consuming, manual tasks (like trying to find the right equipment) that could otherwise be spent on patient care. And the reality is that solutions already exist to alleviate some of these burdens, but keeping accurate track of device location, integrity, and quantity is still a widespread problem. Specialized (and costly) medical equipment needs to be located at a moment’s notice and, if not managed properly, the time wasted trying to find it could have a serious impact on the quality of patient care.
Automation saves time and dramatically reduces waste
With very little time between patients and an overextended staff, locating these critical devices should be the last thing healthcare workers have to worry about. In fact, frontline care workers and hospital staff spend at least 10% of their time navigating operational failures due to insufficient equipment and supplies.
Technology has helped healthcare facilities with these burdens for years by using real-time location systems (RTLS) to track assets such as beds and other expensive equipment. But, in the digital age, active RFID asset tracking in hospital settings has become an essential part of improving patient services, while also reducing costs and preventing under- as well as over-stocking. In other words, hospitals can avoid overbuying costly assets simply because they can’t find them.
And now with automation making its way into asset management, healthcare organizations have access to real-time tracking and can easily access and manage medical equipment. Keeping accurate track of these critical assets (and their condition) allows frontline staff to provide timely and quality health care.
3 ways automating asset management improves patient care
With little or no time to spare, healthcare workers have to prioritize and execute countless tasks throughout their day and the thought of learning something new is out of the question. Automation is key when it comes to asset tracking and management—it doesn’t require healthcare workers to learn a new system or program. It actually makes their jobs more efficient and less complicated while also reducing waste and errors associated with manual processes.
Yet despite all of the advancements in medical technology over the past two years, combining automation with asset tracking and management is still fairly new to most healthcare environments but demand for robust healthcare asset tracking systems continues to grow. From an $11 billion industry in 2019, the healthcare asset management market is expected to grow to $84.5 billion by 2027, which speaks volumes to the benefits that such technology provides.
Automating asset management not only provides operational and financial benefits, it can actually improve patient care in three ways by:
- Supporting faster treatments – identifying the exact location of life-saving equipment in real-time can save precious minutes (or even seconds) and allows more time for healthcare workers to focus on patients and their needs
- Ensuring quality treatments – by proactively monitoring for potential equipment failures (and even environmental factors that could negatively affect them), assets can be kept in optimal working condition to ensure quality care
- Making safety a priority – hospitals have to deal with laws and regulations so having the ability to quickly, and accurately, compile safety-related data to meet compliance also takes pressure off the audit process
By automating time-consuming, mundane, and repetitive tasks (such as admin), healthcare workers can use that time back to focus on patients while knowing they have access to the right resources and equipment they need to do their job—to provide the best quality patient care possible. And for healthcare organizations overall, the operational benefits of automating asset management has proved its worth by reducing waste and increasing efficiency. And the best part? Patients are the ones who ultimately benefit, which is the collective goal and metric of success.
About the author
Dale Quayle is CEO of RF Code where he is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the company as well as overseeing the launch of new products and the company’s entrance into new markets. Previously, he was CEO of Digital Fuel SV LLC, Interset Inc., as well as Intergrien Corp. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics from Illinois State University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.