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Murata intros RAIN RFID tag for use on metal ••• Harland Simon, GS1 Ireland partner on asset-tracking, inventory-management solutions ••• Nedap launches smart-parking sensor platform ••• SATO to unveil intelligent label-printing technologies ••• Identiv, Zwipe team up to provide biometric access ••• CAEN RFID releases two new readers.
By Rich Handley

Harland Simon, GS1 Ireland Partner on Asset-Tracking, Inventory-Management Solutions

Harland Simon, a provider of RFID-based solutions for the health-care sector, has announced its participation in GS1 Ireland's Solution Provider Program. As partners, GS1 Ireland and Harland Simon will work together to support organizations in using GS1 identifiers, bar codes and RFID technology to provide solutions for real-time location tracking and inventory management.

Harland Simon helps health-care providers improve their utilization and tracking of medical devices and other assets in order to boost patient safety, through the use of GS1-compliant labels incorporating a passive RFID tag. Individual devices and assets can be bar-code-scanned in line of sight, while multiple assets can be captured quickly via mobile or fixed RFID readers.

Inventory audits can be carried out in less time than with traditional asset tags, the company reports. Harland Simon's RFiD Discovery asset-tracking software is designed to reduce the amount of time nurses and other clinical personnel spend searching for equipment. The software assists medical engineers in identifying devices in need of maintenance and repair, thereby increasing patient safety.

The RFiD Discovery system is currently in use at more than 20 trusts throughout the United Kingdom, including Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), the first NHS trust in that country to implement GS1-compliant asset labelling for its 37,500 medical devices. Its use has provided multiple benefits, the firm notes, including better inventory management through quicker and more frequent auditing. For example, a test audit on six wards previously took two weeks to complete with up to 35 percent of devices unaccounted for, whereas the same process now takes just 10 to 15 minutes with more than 90 percent of inventory detected. The system has also improved the process of risk management by minimizing the circulation of potentially dangerous, unsuitable or unmaintained equipment.

In addition, CUH is ready for Britain's Scan4Safety initiative, under which equipment can be scanned against a patient's wristband to identify the exact device used for that individual. Since the implementation at CUH, Harland Simon has helped other hospitals to deploy GS1-compliant asset-labeling systems as well, including London's Kingston Hospital, East Kent Hospitals and Heart of England NHS Trust. The company has also provided labels for St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, and advised on GS1 labelling techniques for its early-stage studies.

"GS1 Ireland's primary objective is to support health-care providers in their goal to deliver patient safety while also achieving high levels of efficiency and cost reduction through the use of GS1 standards," said Mike Byrne, GS1 Ireland's chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "Partnering with companies like Harland Simon helps us achieve this goal for the benefit of our members."

"We have supported the use of GS1 standards for medical device labelling in the UK for a number of years," added Andy James, Harland Simon's director of health-care solutions, in the prepared statement, "and are excited about the opportunity to help hospitals in Ireland on their journey to benefit from GS1-compliant asset labelling."

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