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New Heart Hospital Plans Major RFID Operation

A 68-bed cardiovascular facility in Texas is implementing an RFID asset-tracking system to monitor more than 10,000 medical devices kept in inventory.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 10, 2006The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Collin County, Texas, has big plans for RFID when it opens in January 2007.

“You know what they say about Texas—everything’s big,” says Mark Valentine, president of The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, which is part of the Baylor Health Care System, a network of 15 owned, leased or affiliated hospitals and five short-stay hospitals.

Mark Valentine, Heart Hospital's president
A $100 million, 68-bed facility dedicated solely to providing inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular care, is installing an RFID asset-tracking system. It expects to have more than 10,000 catheters, pacemakers and other high-cost cardiovascular devices and supplies tagged with passive 13.56 MHz RFID labels compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, as well as 14 large cabinets enabled with RFID interrogators. The hospital will use the RFID system, called iRISupply, developed by Pittsburgh's Mobile Aspects, to store, track and manage such devices and supplies.

Other hospitals, including King's Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) in Ashland, Ky., have also deployed iRISupply (see King's Daughters Expands Its RFID Tracking System).

“Hospitals struggle every day with inventory-supply adjustments that occur through the year, and often have huge swings in the costs of inventory,” Valentine says. When plans got underway to build the Heart Hospital, he and other executives wanted to create a system that would make it easier for staff to locate medical devices, track costs to keep billing more efficient and accurate and monitor inventory levels so the right number of devices would always be on hand. The goal: to allow caregivers to spend more time assisting patients and less time conducting administrative tasks, such as monthly inventory checks that would take a team of five to six people up to six hours to complete.

According to Valentine, the devices the Heart Hospital’s RFID system will track are expected to account for about 70 percent of the hospital’s supply budget of $30 million. Items worth more than $200 apiece will be tagged upon receipt from suppliers. Tags will be affixed to the items’ packaging, each encoded with a unique identification number. The tag numbers, along with other item information—such as the manufacturer’s name, the item code provided by the manufacturer and the expiration date—will be input into the iRISupply database.

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