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Palex Medical Launches RFID System for Tracking Surgical Supplies

The solution includes an RFID-enabled locking cabinet and a Kanban supply-management system, the latter of which is being used by Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 21, 2012Palex Medical, a health-care technology firm based in Barcelona, Spain, is marketing new RFID-enabled solutions to help hospitals manage their inventory of prostheses and other medical assets. The company developed its Dyane smartCabinet and Dyane smartKanban solutions with the assistance of Spanish RFID systems integrator Saident. Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, located in Spain, is the first hospital to use part of this solution for stock management, to automate the restocking and purchasing of medical supplies. Other medical facilities have been testing the technology as well, and will determine whether to implement the system permanently.

The Dyane smartCabinet is designed to provide access to, and track the usage of, high-value medical items, such as implants, stored behind a locked door. The Dyane smartKanban system is intended for lower-value, frequently restocked supplies, such as gloves or gauze, to help employees ensure that stocks never run low.


The Dyane smartCabinet has a built-in EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID reader that inventories all medical supplies stored within.

The Dyane smartCabinet acts as an automatic dispensing cabinet, with built-in RFID readers to track tagged inventory stored within, explains Juan Carreño, the head of Palex Medical's hospital engineering division. A user who needs to access the cabinet's contents must either provide an RFID card, use biometrics (such as a fingerprint) or log in via a password on a touch screen at the front of the cabinet. That data is received by Dyane logistics-management software, hosted on the hospital's back-end system, which confirms or denies authorization. If the user is listed as authorized to access the cabinet, the system displays several options to that individual. The worker may indicate that he or she wants to return, search for or retrieve a product, or verify the availability of a full kit loaded with tools specific to a particular surgical procedure. Once a choice is selected, the lock is automatically released and a green light is illuminated on the touch screen.

The user then opens the door, removes the products required for a specific procedure and closes the door once more. The doors relock automatically, and the reader then scans the RFID tags in the cabinet in order to confirm the remaining inventory. Once this occurs, the interrogator can no longer read the unique ID number encoded to the tag attached to each removed item, and that change in read status is received by the software, thereby providing a record of what that individual has taken. The screen on the front of the cabinet displays the items returned or removed, and also notes if there was a discrepancy with the products that the individual initially indicated would be taken or returned. In the event that a door is accidentally left open, a red light flashes on the cabinet and an audible alarm is sounded, warning personnel to the problem.

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