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Nebraska Hospital Boosts Efficiency, Patient Care With RFID

Cardinal Health's Inventory Management Solutions, installed at Nebraska Medicine, track the storage and use of high-value supplies for surgical procedures, thereby reducing out-of-stocks and expirations, while also automating patient billing.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 09, 2017

Omaha-based health-care provider Nebraska Medicine has launched an RFID-based system across its two hospitals, as well as at its outpatient clinics and surgery centers. The solution enables the health-care company to better manage its inventory of high-value supplies, ensuring that inventory is up to date and that no products are due to expire. The system consists of high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz RFID cabinets and reader stations, compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, as well as integrated software to manage the collected read data, all provided by Cardinal Health's Inventory Management Solutions (CIMS).

Nebraska Medicine has 665 beds for patients at its two facilities. It hosts 1,000 physicians, which includes 40 specialty and primary-care doctors. Managing high-value supplies was an intensive process for clinicians at the hospital, says Morgan Shradar, BSN, RN, Nebraska Medicine's manager of procedural services.

Before the RFID system was launched, the storage rooms at Nebraska Medicine's Bellevue Medical Center each contained an average of $11,000 worth of expiring products every month. In addition, the hospital's supply chain had too many human touch points in its clinical workflow, which resulted in compliance issues.

To help prevent expirations, Nebraska Medicine's staff spent four to six hours every week labeling products with either a gold, green or red star, thereby indicating each item's expiration status—for instance, if it is expiring soon. However, even that wasn't sufficient to guarantee that products didn't expire. "When we mismanaged products or failed to trigger a reorder for an expired product," Shradar says, "clinicians grew frustrated and questioned the care they could provide to the patient."

Each time supplies were required for a surgical procedure, clinicians pulled the necessary items, then had to verify that everything was present before the surgery could begin. This too, was a time-consuming process for clinicians.

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