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Massachusetts General Expands RFID System for Inventory Management

The hospital plans to install additional RFID-enabled cabinets after the system has achieved a significant ROI in interventional radiology.
By Mark Roberti
"The physicians loved being able to go online and see that a particular stent graft for this particular patient is on this shelf in this cabinet, and is available for them to treat the patient," Sheridan said. "They thought it was the Holy Grail of being prepared for procedures."

Sheridan's team conducted a six-month study to quantify the return on investment, as well as performing time-and-motion studies. Improvements in charge capture led to approximately a 400 percent ROI, he reported—and there were other benefits as well. Stock-outs were reduced, but not by a huge amount, since with the old system, inventory managers made sure items remained in stock. Sheridan's team ultimately determined that the RFID solution reduced the amount of time that the clinical staff spent counting inventory each day by approximately 66 percent—from three hours down to only one.

What's more, responding to product recalls became easier with RFID—which is important since the quantity of recalls ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have increased by 400 percent since 2001. And in one case, the RFID solution alerted the staff that they were about to implant expired coils worth $6,800 within a patient.

The newest deployment will be in cardiology, Sheridan said. The contract has not been finalized, with the exact number of RFID-enabled cabinets yet to be determined, but he noted that it would be around 40 additional cabinets.

"In the beginning, I was unconvinced RFID was the way to go," Sheridan stated. "Now, I am convinced."

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