Challenges in managing medical equipment October 18th, 2018

Challenges in managing medical equipment
On any given day, in hospitals around the world, doctors, nurses and administrative staff move medical equipment around in their facilities as they go about the work of taking care of patients — equipment such as infusion pumps, telemetry packs, blood gas analyzers, patient monitors, hospital beds, gurneys and wheelchairs. 

Healthcare organizations are constantly challenged with the accidental or deliberate removal of valuable medical equipment from their facilities. In some instances, smaller mobile medical equipment like telemetry packs may be easily concealed and removed from high-traffic areas of the healthcare facility, such as emergency departments. Smaller pieces of equipment can be inadvertently wrapped in hospital linens when a patient room is cleaned and sent down a laundry chute with the linens. When hospitals cannot precisely keep track of the locations, utilization patterns or maintenance and cleaning status of their mobile medical equipment, they often purchase excess equipment to prevent shortfalls that could disrupt patient care. 

Time wasted by searching for items

Studies show that nurses spend an average of 21 minutes per shift searching for lost equipment*. As a consequence, clinical staff may place items in unauthorized locations around the hospital in order to have them available for their patients when they need them. This removes assets from the shared pool of equipment and results in shortages as well as surplus purchase or rental costs. 

Another example is that biomedical and clinical engineering teams are responsible for ensuring equipment is properly cleaned, maintained and available where needed. This often means an extensive manual inspection of equipment rooms to confirm proper stock levels and manual procedures to monitor preventive maintenance schedules — and manual processes are more prone to errors, which can result in equipment shortages at critical times. 

Ultimately, one or more of the problems outlined above can lead to detrimental effects on patient care because the right equipment is not available in the right location at the right time. 

Challenges turn into chances 

Healthcare organizations are undergoing a significant transformation as they increase their focus on reducing costs and improving patient care. Healthcare providers will tackle the upcoming changes in a variety of ways; a focus on reducing costs and increasing efficiency in delivering care is key. 

RAIN RFID technology by IMPINJ is the solution for hospitals looking for digital transformation technologies that can automate processes, increase accuracy, and lower costs. The innovative technology is also transforming how hospitals and healthcare organizations manage their inventory, assets, and supply chain to reduce costs and provide high-quality patient care. 

The IMPINJ platform automates the tasks of tracking, locating, and managing medical equipment. RAIN RFID is a battery-free technology that wirelessly delivers information about an item’s identity, location, and authenticity to the hospital’s enterprise systems. Assets are tracked as they move in or out of service rooms and through the facility. This allows staff to see their location in real-time and obtains information about equipment status to help plan resource use. The IMPINJ platform uses RAIN RFID to deliver timely information about items to the digital world, thereby enabling the Internet of Things. 

BlueStar is at the cutting edge of technology with leading suppliers like IMPINJ for the healthcare market to provide the ultimate solutions in RFID. These solutions are suitable also for the needs of all commercial market segments, e.g. Retail, Supply-Chain and Logistics, Industrial Manufacturing, Hospitality, Food and Beverage. 


Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.