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Royal Cornwall deploys RFID system in hospital to improve surgical safety

Royal Cornwall hospital has launched an RFID system to track high-value implants used during surgery to ensure traceability. The technology is part of the UK scan4safety program. Its GS1 barcode or RFID technology can be used to identify components, so as to ensure that patients use the correct implants and achieve traceability. The purpose of the system is to reduce the incidence of errors and the time spent by hospital personnel tracking products, including drugs and implants.

Royal Cornwall hospital was one of the first implementers of scan4safety program. They used RFID or bar code scanning for tracking. Royal Cornwall hospital is a teaching hospital that provides medical services in three locations: Truro, Penzance and Hayle. At present, the hospital has a total of 750 beds.

The hospital uses the UPC and passive UHF RFID solution Atticus provided by ingenica solutions to manage surgical implants. According to Nicola hall, managing director of ingenica, Atticus is a modular inventory management solution, including a range of data collection options.

In the past, when the hospital used manual inventory management of surgical implants, the hospital needed to ensure that these inventories were available at any time, did not expire and did not make mistakes. Manual management often took a long time.

Nick Kyte, a member of the project management office of Royal Cornwall hospital, said: RFID digital system is faster and more accurate than paper system. “We want the staff to get information about the items by reading the labels attached to the implant packaging,” he said.

He pointed out that although these products can be tracked by bar codes, RFID has several unique advantages. “RFID technology is more powerful and does not fade like bar code labels. It also allows employees to read without picking up the card reader,” he said

Hall said that with the ingenica solution system in place, the hospital will mark the implant. The ID number of the label will bind the manufacturer, validity period, product model, batch number and other information, which will be stored in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP system.

The hospital will also install ingenica UHF RFID desktop card reader in the storage area of surgical tools. Before implanting a specific patient, the staff will place the product on the card reader. Then, the staff used Atticus software to input the patient’s ID card and associate it with the implant. The software will then store the patient’s ID number and implant data. When the product needs to be recalled due to product quality, the software can query the patient information using the batch of products. In this way, the hospital can contact patients in time and recall them.

After the system was deployed at the end of last month, the hospital will begin to evaluate the cost reduction and efficiency improvement brought by the system. At the same time, the technology will also help hospitals replenish inventory.

In addition, the hospital is using RFID technology for some inventory management. The RFID solution is provided by lyngsoe systems, a traceability and data reading technology company. The RFID technology is being used for the management of medical electronic devices.v

At the same time, ingenica solution system will help the hospital achieve the goal of scan4safety. The scheme will be deployed in multiple stages, and the pilot will be carried out in several operating rooms in the early stage.

Kyte said the hospital hopes to gain some benefits from the scheme, such as saving costs by reducing waste caused by expiration. He predicts that the technology will also save doctors time spent recording implant status. The hospital also hopes to improve safety through the system and ensure that patients use the correct implants.

In the future, Royal Cornwall hopes to promote this system in the supply chain and require its suppliers to label at the factory end.

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