Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 777-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery network. The hospital is committed to excellence in patient care with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.
The hospital was experiencing high operational and capital expenses due to excess rentals and repurchases of lost equipment, such as telemetry transmitters, 12-lead ECG cables, infusion pumps, portable monitors, defibrillators, external pacers and other devices. It became a concern that patient care would be compromised if nurses need to hunt and gather equipment while physicians waited to start procedures.
"If you're in a car and a voice can come on and tell you where you are, why couldn't we find equipment we needed within the enclosed walls of our hospital?" noted Biomedical Director Michael Fraai in a recent Radianse-sponsored webinar during which he discussed the decision to use active-RFID.
BWH installed the Radianse real time asset tracking platform hospital-wide, assuring the ability to find nearly 10,000 medical devices (including 2,500 across central transport), a mix of room- and zone-level coverage throughout care areas on no less than 17 hospital floors, including perioperative and emergency departments.
BWH saw a return on its investment in just over a year—an annual gross savings projected at $300,000. Radianse RFID technology increased productivity by enabling staff to find equipment quickly. Real time alerts helped to increase efficiency, reduce loss and improve equipment flow.
The hospital is currently investigating the potential to benefit from other uses of active-RFID, particularly with the coverage across the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center. For example, in Hospitality Management, RFID technology can help ensure patient items can be located at discharge. And the Blood Bank could use alerts to notify personnel in advance of time limits for coolers that must be returned.
In their words
"A hospital must understand the level of coverage it needs and choose a system that will grow and scale, as well as one that will not interfere with the increasing number of wireless applications running. Consideration of the refresh rate is critical: some systems take 2 to 3 minutes to give you updated information. In our situation, that could mean a device would be on its way to downtown Boston by the time it was recognized as gone. That would have been unacceptable."
Michael Fraai, Director Biomedical Engineering