Hospitals manage millions of dollars worth of medical equipment, supplies, and other assets, and all of them play a critical role in delivering timely and effective care. Without an organized way to track and manage these items, there can be costly and dangerous delays in care. Staff waste time searching the floor for equipment; equipment may be hoarded in a department to avoid these searches; and hospitals wind up spending money unnecessarily to replace lost assets or to ensure availability of those assets.
Asset tracking software, coupled with automatic identification technology, can eliminate these problems.
Asset tracking solutions may use barcode labels, but hospitals are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi-based real-time location systems (RTLS) to wirelessly track equipment using the existing wireless network infrastructure. In some instances, these systems may incorporate traditional RFID tags, but RTLS has allowed these facilities to create a closed-loop asset tracking solution without investing in additional infrastructure.
In either case, a robust asset tracking software package provides a way to accumulate and analyze the asset data. In addition to locating equipment, these solutions can provide a way to automate lifecycle management and maintenance, track repair histories or sterilization history, and automatically re-allocate assets by floor or department. Asset tracking software provides these benefits without the human error associated with manually keeping records by hand or in a spreadsheet.
Here are four key benefits of using asset tracking software in a hospital:
1. Improve Asset Utilization: With real-time information on equipment location, it is easy for hospitals to eliminate equipment hoarding (which takes place when staff members hide equipment in order to make sure no one else takes it), theft, and loss. It is easier to find necessary equipment when it is needed, and hospitals can avoid unnecessary over purchasing of assets as a result. With a better view of where equipment is located and who is using it, hospitals can adjust inventories, reallocate some assets, and ensure that every department has the equipment it needs, when clinicians need it.
2. Improve Staff Productivity: When nurses have to search for equipment, they waste time wandering the hallways that could otherwise be spent charting or caring for patients. When staff members can find what they need immediately, they can eliminate hours per week or month in pointless searches while improving the quality of care.
3. Automate Equipment Audits: By using an asset tracking solution to monitor equipment status, maintenance, and sterilization, hospitals can create an instant record of quality, safety, and sanitation procedures. These can then be quickly accessed in the case of an audit, or to confirm procedural compliance. That level of visibility and historical perspective is impossible without real-time asset tracking.
4. Improved Equipment Performance: The lifecycle management enabled by asset tracking makes it easier to ensure that each piece of equipment is inspected and serviced at the right intervals without time-consuming manual record keeping. Asset tracking software makes it easy to monitor the status of each piece of equipment and know when its time to service or replace it. By generating overview reports on broad classes of assets, hospitals can better plan their capital expenditures based on real data rather than guesswork.
Moreover, asset tracking software improves the work environment for employees, and makes it easier for staff to provide fast, quality care to patients.