Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust
Improving hospital bed management with RFID
With the help of an RFiD Discovery system, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has improved the management of beds and other medical devices at its two 400-bed acute hospitals. SaTH is using active RFID to track the movements of a total of 1309 medical devices including 846 beds at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
Prior to the implementation of RFID, keeping track of beds and other medical devices used to be a real challenge. With the trust affected by the same acute bed shortages seen across the NHS, locating beds quickly for maintenance and repair is of utmost importance to ensure the maximum number of beds is available at any one time.
In addition, staff in the two manned medical equipment libraries – one at each hospital – found it difficult to keep track of loan equipment and were spending a lot of time locating devices.
RFiD Discovery provides SaTH with the ability to locate assets quickly. Each bed or device is fitted with an active RFID tag broadcasting its unique ID at regular intervals. Signals are picked up by fixed readers as well as mobile handheld readers used by clinical technicians to audit the wards. Information is then sent back to a central database which shows the location where each asset was last ‘seen’ by the system.
“RFiD Discovery enables our technicians to locate beds and other mobile devices quickly and so they can focus on their core tasks of servicing and repair.”
Nigel Watkinson, Medical Engineering Manager
• Improved maintenance efficiency of beds and medical devices
• Time saved looking for devices
• Helps achieve and maintain compliance
• Increased patient safety
• Improved infection control
“The system enables us to have the right equipment available without delay, which is great for patient safety.”
Michael Woffindale, Bed Technologist
Due to the success of the system, SaTH are extending the network of fixed readers to a total of 58 across the two hospitals which means that even more equipment movements will be detected automatically and in real-time. Plans also include to make RFID tracking available to other departments, i. e. Estates, X-ray and even IT.
The Trust is currently looking at the requirement for GS1 compliance and considering the use of RFID enabled asset labels for all medical devices, to allow for quick and accurate auditing.