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By Beth Bacheldor

Addenbrooke's Hospital Adopts RFID-enabled Surgical Kit Inventory System

Harland Simon has announced that its RFiD Discovery inventory-management system has helped optimize stock-holding and minimize waste as part of a kitting service for surgeries at the United Kingdom's Addenbrooke's Hospital, part of the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (CUH). Using the RFID system has helped Addenbrooke's to centralize and streamline the management of supplies, Harland Simon reports, enabling nurses to focus more time on patient care.

Addenbrooke's is utilizing the RFiD Discovery solution to track items used in operations via a passive RFID label attached to the plastic tote used to hold the items comprising a kit. The solution automatically feeds usage data back into CUH's inventory database, according to Harland Simon, thereby ensuring accurate inventory recording and reliable replenishment.

According to Harland Simon, CUH is believed to be the first trust in the United Kingdom to introduce a central theater kitting service using RFID technology. CUH now prepares approximately 100 to 120 kits per day for elective procedures, as well as 50 for emergency and contingency kits. Centralized stock-holding eliminates the need for each theater area to stock items that may be required. Because the kitting process is carried out by a central kitting team, the company explains, nurses need not leave the theater areas to collate materials, which means they can spend more time looking after patients.

All supplies that theater personnel require for a procedure is placed on a patient-specific tote box containing a passive RFID tag so that it can be uniquely identified. Each item's bar code is scanned during the picking process using an RFID Discovery handheld scanner gun, which receives a full list of items that have been issued for the particular kit. To speed up the process of picking, Harland Simon says, the gun displays each item's exact shelf location.

Once complete, each box is sealed via a security tag. To improve patient safety and ensure that all of the correct items are on hand during the operation, the system automatically prevents the tote's completion until all items required have been picked and scanned. To help reduce waste, each kit contains only the items normally required during an operation.

"This system enables us to accurately capture the cost of each operation and at the same time allows clinical staff to focus on patient care delivery," said Phillip Lapish, Addenbrooke's Hospital's supply chain manager, in a prepared statement. "The cost per operation is down by between 2.5 and 7.4 percent in the specialties where the solution was first deployed."

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