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RFID Helps Hôtel-Dieu d'Amos Replenish Consumables

The Quebec hospital is using a system with passive HF RFID tags linked to specific medical supplies to request replenishment of those items.
By Claire Swedberg
Additionally, the LogiDATA-iD software can issue alerts in the event that an RFID tag has remained on the board for an unusually long period of time, or if a product has been recalled by its manufacturer.

Alerts may be sent by e-mail to multiple recipients if necessary, or be routed to a text pager. They can also be sent to different departments, based on the supply source. For stock items (which are stored within the hospital), for example, a message would be sent to a distribution center that would then generate a pick list and deliver the supplies—or, for non-stock items (specifically packed for the hospital by an outside vendor), it would be sent to the purchasing department, which would then place an order with an outside vendor.

To date, Labonville says, the hospital has yet to measure the amount of time being saved with the 2BIN-iD RFID-enabled replenishment system. However, Racette notes, other hospitals that have installed the solution have found that its usage results in approximately a 60 percent reduction in the amount of time that the nursing staff must spend on material-related tasks, as well as a 15 percent time savings for the materials-management staff and a 50 percent reduction in recurring wastage costs. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati, however, recently carried out a study in which they observed the use of the 2BIN-iD system. Based on those observations, the research team determined how to optimize supply replenishment with RFID technology, and developed a mathematical model to set resupply triggers in the LogiDATA-iD software (see Study Shows How to Optimize RFID-Enabled Resupply System for Nurse Stations).

In addition to the RFID system, the hospital is also utilizing Logi-D's PA-iD system with voice direction, to assist its material-management staff in putting products away in the drawers. Each employee wears a headset, using voice commands to prompt the software to provide location details for specific items—gloves, for instance. A worker simply speaks into the headset microphone, indicating what he or she is putting away, and the software then links that item with its location data, providing voice instructions. The voice-directed functionality is an add-on feature to the RFID-enabled system, but does not use RFID itself.

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