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Florida Hospital to Use RFID to Track Implantable Cardiac Devices

The facility expects to lower costs and improve patient care, thanks to a solution combining WaveMark's 13.56 MHz passive RFID system with Lumedx billing software.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Dec 03, 2008Florida Hospital, located in Orlando, Fla., is rolling out an RFID-assisted inventory-tracking and patient-care system that it believes will lower its inventory spending while also improving the lifecycle tracking of medical devices, as well as post-operative patient care.

The solution brought together two technology vendors: WaveMark , a provider of an RFID-based tracking and inventory solution for medical devices, and Lumedx, a supplier of software for tracking specific patient events and procedures in order to enable the accurate billing of cardiac patients. The two vendors created an interface between their respective technology platforms, and are now marketing the integrated solution to other hospitals as well.

Florida Hospital conducted an evaluation of the integrated system in its electrophysiology department, where various medical device implants—such as pacemakers, defibrillators and catheters—are used to regulate patients' heart functions. The pilot's goal was to achieve accurate and timely inventory data that would enable the department to reduce its device and equipment inventory by $30,000 to $40,000. The system allowed the department to do even better than that, says Sam Braga, Florida Hospital's supply chain manager, posting a savings of $65,000 at the conclusion of the trial. In addition, the improved visibility provided Braga with the confidence to justify purchasing some devices in bulk, which equated to a savings of $85,000 (over what the hospital would have otherwise spent buying the devices in smaller quantities). In total, he says, the hospital was able to save $150,000 through the pilot.

Based on these results, the hospital plans to employ the WaveMark-Lumedx solution in the facility's new cardiac care wing. The first medical procedures are due to begin in that location on Dec. 15.

The WaveMark Clinical Inventory Management Solution (CIMS) is a hosted service based on the use of passive 13.56 MHz tags complying with the ISO 15693 standard, attached to medical devices as they are received into hospital inventory. These tagged devices are stored in cabinets with built-in RFID interrogators so they can be inventoried on an on-demand basis, without being manually counted. WaveMark's software tracks the inventory and generates reports on device usage, based on RFID read events.

When a device order arrives at the hospital, staff members will place an RFID tag on each item, then utilize an RFID reader to enter the unique ID encoded to that tag into the CIMS database, along with the name, SKU and lot number associated with that particular device. The tagged item will then be stored in an RFID-enabled cabinet until it is required for a medical procedure.

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