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Tokyo Hospital Tracks Equipment via RFID-Enabled Shelving

Teijin's Recopick system allows St. Luke's International Hospital to manage the location and status of pumps and other devices, thereby eliminating visits to its clinical engineering room, and reducing the tendency of nurses to horde equipment in their wards.
By Claire Swedberg

When the hospital tagged its equipment, data about each item was input into the software and stored along with the unique ID on that device's tag. The information is stored and interpreted by the Recopick software residing on the hospital's server.

When a nurse takes an item from the engineering room, he or she can simply remove it, and the software will then update its status accordingly. If the tag is not read for more than 120 minutes, its status is again updated as "in use," under the assumption that it is being utilized on a patient. The equipment could be placed on a shelf within another of the 22 wards, at which time the software would be alerted that the device was being stored at that location.

After the device is used on a patient, the staff member returns it to the engineering room for cleaning and maintenance. He or she can simply place it on the receiving shelf, and the software will thus be updated. The engineering staff cleans the asset and places it on the cleaned and maintained shelf, and the software will thereby know that the equipment is ready for reuse.

Employees seeking a particular piece of equipment can view its status in the software to determine, in real time, where the item they seek is located. "The hospital could easily see the status of the hospital building entirely by successively checking and analyzing the recorded data in the system," Aramoto says.

Teijin released the Recopick solution in 2012. Since that time, Aramoto says, the company has been building improvements into the technology. "We have adjusted to the system to apply to 920 MHz," he states. "We also strengthened the radio waves' reaction to get stronger on the surface of the RFID sheet, and weaker as separating from the surface." In the future, St. Luke's intends to use the historic data from the system to better manage the flow of equipment around the facility.

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