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Terso Makes a Case for Mobile Tracking of Medical Devices

The company's RFID-enabled hard case, known as a trunk stock kit, uses a cellular connection to transmit the status of the implantable items and surgical tools stored inside it.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 24, 2015

Terso Solutions, a provider of RFID-enabled cabinets and coolers designed to allow health-care facilities to automatically track which medical supplies are removed and returned, has developed n RFID-enabled trunk stock kit that medical device field representatives can use to track the implantable items and surgical tools stored within it.

After 18 months of development, Terso has built a beta version of the carrying case, and is now in discussions with several medical device manufacturers to schedule two or three pilots to take place during the fourth quarter of this year. During the pilots, the participants use the cases in the same manner they have used similar non-RFID cases, exposing Terso's versions to typical rigors that such cases must sustain, including shipping and handling, as well as travelling with field reps throughout various hospitals. The pilots will also be used to understand a field rep's workflow, and how RFID can assist with speeding up invoicing and diminishing waste due to lost, expired or recalled products. Terso and the participating manufacturers will then assess how well the RFID read data is captured and transmitted to cloud-based Jetstream software.

John Kuehl, Terso's hardware product manager
Terso's hardware product manager, John Kuehl, says the system was designed to solve common problems related to managing expensive equipment that is distributed to field reps. "Tracking field inventory of medical device supplies has presented a lot of problems," he states. "Product waste and loss are inevitable. Invoices can lag for weeks or months after a sale. Costs could mount for unnecessarily shipping kits across country."

Typically, medical device manufacturers use trunk stock kits to ensure that hospitals have the necessary product on hand. These kits contain products that are considered on consignment or on loan until they are consumed during a procedure. It is not unusual for medical device manufacturers to lose track of current trunk stock or kits of goods while those items are on their way to or from those hospitals, resulting in high levels of lost or wasted inventory.

Terso's RFID Mobile Case is designed to hold 25 to 100 tools and implants, each with an EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID label. The case comes with a built-in discrete Impinj RS500 reader module, a 4G LTE cellular module, antennas and a microprocessor to identify when items are removed or returned from the case, store that information and send it to the cloud-based software via the 4G connection.

Terso expects to make the RFID-enabled case commercially available sometime in 2016, after analyzing the pilots' results. Terso will lease the case—along with access to its cloud-based platform where RFID read data is stored and managed via Terso's Jetstream RFID cloud-based platform—to customers for a monthly fee, says Joe Pleshek, Terso's CEO.

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