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Royal Cornwall Hospitals to Boost Surgical Safety With RFID

The United Kingdom's NHS Trust is launching a UHF RFID system from Ingenica Solutions to track implants received, stored and then placed inside patients, to reduce manual efforts for tracking the high-value devices, while also increasing patient safety.
By Claire Swedberg

In the meantime, the Ingenica Solutions system is intended to meet the hospital's Scan4safety objectives. This is the first stage in a long-term, phased-approach deployment, Hall explains, starting with just a few surgical rooms.

For Ingenica Solutions, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals installation is the first deployment it has offered that uses RFID technology in this manner. "We have some deployment of our RFID kanban solutions," Hall states, "but not RFID track and trace."

With the Scan4Sfatey Ingenica deployment, Kyte says, the hospital expects to achieve several benefits, including cost savings based on reduced wastage of products that might otherwise end up missing or expire before they can be used. The technology will save clinicians time that they previously spent recording manual data about each implant's stock and status, he predicts.

With regard to safety, Kyte says he hopes the system will help to ensure that patients always receive the proper implant for their procedure. In the meantime, he adds, the stock area in which implants are stored prior to use will be cleaner and better organized, since the technology will enable personnel to understand where items are located, which should be used first and how to consign them to patients.

In the long run, Royal Cornwall Hospitals is aiming for a system in which suppliers would also participate in the tagging of products before sending them to the hospital. "Our hope is that manufacturers and suppliers start to RFID-tag inventory before it arrives," Kyte states, "to remove manual intervention at our Good Inwards [receiving] area, and eventually to use RFID to its greatest potential for not just inventory management, but throughout the hospital."

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