The Top Benefits of Smart Healthcare Asset Tracking

– By Bradley Wingrave

September 18, 2020

Why healthcare asset tracking is becoming a non-negotiable investment

The COVID-19 pandemic has set the benchmark for healthcare asset tracking. At the height of the pandemic, the healthcare sector faced enormous pressure. It confronted unprecedented demand for medical supplies, such as PPE, and solutions to achieve effective healthcare asset tracking, quality healthcare asset management, and resource utilisation.

The healthcare sector was dealt the challenge of devising systems of healthcare asset tracking and management that kept up with the In using smart technologies to address these challenges, new standards of asset tracking in healthcare are here to stay for the benefits they bring.

What is healthcare asset tracking?

As the name suggests, healthcare asset tracking is a monitoring system used to observe the activity and movements of individual medical assets. The reach of smart healthcare asset management solutions is not limited to location. Smart technologies have the power to report on a range of metrics and pre-programmable notifications instantly alert managers to undesirable changes.

What is healthcare asset management?

Healthcare asset management oversees all the different components of medical facilities, ensuring they are working at their best. This covers everything from equipment and machines to personnel and patients. Those tasked with healthcare asset management are responsible for cost-effective and smooth operations in healthcare facilities, which allows medical practitioners to best do their jobs.

How do I track my medical equipment?

Manual or piecemeal asset tracking in healthcare processes are being replaced by healthcare asset tracking and management solutions like those from Smarter Technologies Group. Through a system of smart technologies – tags, sensors, pressure pads, and gateways – everything from medical devices and equipment to personnel and patients can be viewed remotely, collecting data in real time. This empowers emergency responses, as well as long-term strategy.

The need for smarter healthcare asset tracking

From healthcare asset tracking to client monitoring, the advent of this technology has proven to be essential in assisting hospitals and clinics improve both the cost and care of their organisations, all while operating under extreme pressure.

The value of medical equipment

As medical treatments become increasingly sophisticated, the amount of specialised equipment, medications, and instruments used by hospitals and healthcare facilities grow. The cost of these items can be astronomical. Often, they cannot be easily replaced. This makes the ability to track and manage this kind of equipment especially appealing.

The shortcomings of manual processes

Manual record-keeping approaches been found to be unnecessarily labour-intensive. They also leave room for human error – which can have fatal consequences. Additionally, immediate access to medical supplies is crucial to providing high-quality care. Putting a system in place to optimise the use of resources and improve the productivity of healthcare workers not only augments the quality of care provided but also helps to facilitate a much faster response when emergencies arise.

The worry around staff shortages

Another incentive encouraging hospitals to embrace new technology in healthcare is the fear of staff shortages that is expected to occur once the pandemic is over. It has been suggested that traumatic events can cause an exodus of doctors and nurses who want to change their way of life – propelling the need to look for alternative ways of operating. Since February 2020, America alone has seen more than half a million healthcare workers leave their jobs. This underscores the need for automated, efficient, and highly-streamlines systems.

Quality healthcare asset management saves lives

When it comes to COVID, the ability to track and monitor hospital beds, ventilators, and PPE has become crucial to saving lives. Healthcare asset tracking allows healthcare providers to keep track of their equipment, making sure that equipment and medical supplies are readily available. This seemingly minor adjustment means that staff can spend less time seeking the right medical supplies and more time treating the patients in their care. The tech can also monitor the condition of medical equipment, sending immediate alerts in the case of any damage or dysfunction so that it can be replaced timeously.

Asset tracking in healthcare: standard of care for patients

Another important technology that has enabled health services to work more smoothly is the ability to monitor patients in real time and to exchange healthcare information. This information is then used to understand behaviour patterns – allowing professionals to make accurate healthcare-related decisions that ultimately improve the wellbeing of their patients and enables a much faster response in a medical emergency.

The data is used by doctors and pharmacists to understand a patient’s prescription drug history by providing immediate insight into recently used drugs, diseases, symptoms, and treatment methods. A further benefit of this data is the ability to track and analyse the most frequent hospital visits and those who have the highest total cost of care.

Improved productivity

One reason why healthcare asset tracking is so important is because valuable assets routinely get lost due to misplacement and misuse. This is both costly and time-consuming. The lack of resource visibility is another reason why asset tracking is necessary. It is estimated that a nurse will spend, on average, twenty minutes per shift searching for equipment. This can lead to a loss of almost £400 000 each year.

By implementing an IoT-enabled wireless tracking system, hospitals and healthcare facilities will have access to data that will help staff to quickly locate their medical instruments, allowing healthcare workers to work much faster, accessing tools and equipment as required.

Reduced theft

Theft of medical instruments is another reason why healthcare asset tracking is used. The NHS, for example, loses £13 million worth of hospital equipment each year. In Germany, a recent incident saw almost 50,000 disposable face masks stolen from the logistics centre for Cologne’s medical clinics.

Healthcare asset tracking devices provide much better insight into all the critical mobile assets across facilities than an Excel spreadsheet. From patient beds and wheelchairs to vital pieces of equipment, with smart medical asset management, you can track, monitor and recover your stolen goods much faster. The smart medical asset management solutions from Smarter Technologies Group also provide an SOS service and panic buttons, which send immediate alerts to a mobile device in the event of an emergency.

Improved resource allocation and longevity

Healthcare asset tracking also allows for accurate, precise stock calculations – assisting hospital managers in making better-informed purchasing decisions. By recognising which assets are not being used effectively, hospitals will reduce unnecessary expenditures by phasing out unused pieces of equipment, freeing up financial resources to stock high-demand, vital supplies.

With IoT sensors, the equipment’s condition can also be monitored for any damage or dysfunction so that it can be replaced timeously. For example, a microscope that is properly maintained can last for up to fifteen years, but this lifespan is reduced to only eight years if it is not looked after. Tracking these assets will help to alert you of any preventative maintenance that needs to be carried out, helping to potentially double the lifespan of your assets.

These sensors can also be utilised to ensure medical supplies are kept at optimal storage conditions. By giving hospitals and other healthcare facilities the ability to monitor the temperature and humidity of their pharmaceutical products, it will help to minimise any immediate problems that may arise from temperature fluctuations throughout the supply chain.

Smart healthcare asset tracking from Smarter Technologies Group

– Smarter Technologies

Smarter Technologies Group’s Orion Data Network creates end-to-end medical asset tracking solutions that use state-of-the-art, low-power radio, IoT and GPS technology to track the location, status, and condition of your medical facility’s assets

The Orion Data Network’s bespoke management dashboard can be accessed at any time, from anywhere and real-time reporting is available every 15 seconds when assets or personnel are in motion and every two minutes when they are stationary. This cloud-based reporting tool also streamlines record-keeping, reducing the administrative burden of keeping thorough and accurate records.

The healthcare asset management technology from Smarter Technologies Group provides the following solutions:

Healthcare asset tracking

Equip your medical equipment with a state-of-the-art tag, which allows you to keep track of your equipment. The condition of the equipment is monitored for any damage or dysfunction to ensure timeous replacement.

Client monitoring

Monitor your patients in real time, analyse anomalies in their data, and make accurate healthcare-related decisions that will ultimately improve their wellbeing.

Medical supplies monitoring

Constantly and remotely monitor your pharmaceutical equipment, drug components, and end products. This will give you the ability to create predictive models and provide you with diagnostic support at every point in your supply chain. It also assists in the creation of optimal maintenance models.

Blood transport monitoring

Monitor the transportation of blood across the country to ensure it arrives in a suitable and compliant condition.

Inventory management

These technologies provide a full view of your supply chain for comprehensive, intuitive inventory management. This helps you to keep storerooms, supplies, and medical transport equipped and ready for every eventuality.

Defibrillator monitoring: key life-saving equipment made Smarter

An example that goes right to the heart of the matter is smart defibrillator monitoring. When it comes to this life-saving equipment, high-quality healthcare asset management (both within the hospital context and for use with public defibrillators) is paramount.

Smart defibrillator monitoring solutions provide real-time monitoring for pinpointing the location of the nearest device, maintenance insights, and alerts around tampering, theft, and undesirable changes. This means, in a cardiac emergency, user and machine tracking can save time and potentially contribute to saving lives.

Get in touch with the team for a smarter healthcare asset monitoring solution. 

About the author

Bradley Wingrave has a wealth of business experience spanning more than two decades and his success in a number of entrepreneurial ventures makes him a forerunning expert on businesses, offices, facilities and legal compliance.

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