Argentine hospital Sanatorio Finochietto is using an RFID-based solution to bring visibility to all of its uniforms and linens, thereby ensuring that each item can be accounted for and that its washing process is conducted properly, while also preventing items from leaving the hospital without authorization. Its laundry services company,Lavadero Berazategui also employs the technology to track items at its own site.
Since the system was taken live approximately two years ago, the hospital says it has been able to reduce the cost of purchasing redundant inventory, as well as cutting labor time that employees previously spent counting garments and linens. It is now attaching RFID tags to other assets, in order to manage their usage and location; this will continue during the first quarter of this year. The solution is using the cloud-based software and leveraging Technologies fixed RFID readers and antennas, in addition to handheld readers and Datamars RFID tags. The hospital is now tracking about 80,000 garments and linen items with the RFID system.
The process begins when a staff member picks up his or her garment or linens. That worker then uses a fingerprint scanner, , to identify himself or herself at the linens station. The scanner sends the fingerprint information to software, which matches the fingerprint to the specific employee and displays information about what items she or he uses (such as medium-sized scrubs). The worker retrieves the required items and uses a countertop reader to capture what is being provided, after which the software links those items with that employee.
The individual returns the items when finished with them by dropping them into the dirty laundry chute, where the goods are collected in bags. A staff member places the bags in the RFID reading cabinet, and the tags are read in order to indicate what has been returned and is being sent to the laundry.
At the hospital, if an employee inadvertently walks out the door with a garment, the RFID tag's ID number will be captured by the fixed reader, and an alert will be sounded. A security officer can then retrieve that item from the worker, Gidekel says. Hospital personnel use handheld readers to count inventory in hospital rooms on a periodic basis, by simply waving the reader near cabinets, even if the door is closed, and viewing a list of all items at that location. The software can then indicate which items may be missing or need to be moved to another location.
With the solution in place, Roman says, employees can count linens and uniforms within seconds rather than the minutes or hours required to go through counting and identifying items manually. The technology provides a level of safety for staff members, he adds, since they need not handle dirty items, and it reduces the risk of someone touching something that could be harmful, such as a needle that was inadvertently caught in clothing or linens. Once the cleaned goods are returned, the system again saves workers from counting and identifying each item returned.
Since the technology was taken live, it has reduced the loss of items, leading to lower inventory-replacement costs. Other benefits to the technology, Gidekel says, are that it ensures that the hospital's management knows it is complying with industry regulations when it comes to managing linens and garments, and that it reduces the risk of cross contamination.
(Sharing from: rfidjournal.com)