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What Could Be in Health Care

Many hospitals are using RFID for one application or another, but no one has yet put it all together.
By Mark Roberti
"We saw a lot of overstocking because technicians don't want to tell a physician that we don't have that item," Hubisz explained. "As a result, you have a lot of product write-offs over time. We did have some products on consignment with our suppliers, but we had no control over inventory. We had no idea what we were consuming and what was on the shelf, and we were at a cost disadvantage because the suppliers had all the data."

Now, Tufts has the edge in negotiations, since it has the data. But Tallahassee isn't doing what Tufts is doing, Tufts isn't doing what the Moores Cancer Center is doing, and the Moores Cancer Center isn't doing what Massachusetts General is doing.

That's probably not a bad thing. RFID projects can be challenging, and hospitals can't fund every RFID project, nor could they manage multiple complex deployments very easily. But what is exciting is that as each hospital deploys a system and it becomes part of its normal operations, the facility can then introduce another application, and another. These systems can not only cut costs, but also improve patient safety and allow doctors and nurses to focus on the task of caring for patients.

As Massachusetts General's Sheridan said, "We're not in the business of making money in health care, but we're not in the business of losing money, either. How can we reinvest in our infrastructure if we are losing money?"

Videos of the event's presentations can be viewed here.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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