RFID Improves Patient Safety and Work Flow Efficiency in the Operating Room

Chirurgen operieren in OP-Saal an PatientenOperating rooms and surgical centers can be hectic environments, with multiple patients entering and leaving for different types of procedures, conducted by different surgical teams. Every procedure requires a fresh, complete, and fully sterilized set of surgical instruments specific to that operation.

Surgical kits are assembled in advance of each procedure, matched to the patient, and then counted before and after the operation. This is to ensure that the doctors have everything they need before they begin, and to make sure that no instruments go missing after the procedure. All instruments have to be accounted for to ensure patient safety — many doctors have accidentally left surgical tools inside their patients.

But because of human error, 100 percent accurate instrument counting can be difficult to achieve. Many factors can compromise accuracy, including inaccurate instrument lists; personnel may not be familiar with the instruments; or staff may be rushed because of a packed surgical schedule. The time necessary for a staffer to hand count instruments adversely affects room turn-over time, thereby increasing costs.

RFID unique identification of each individual instrument enables a system that can provide and document each instrument’s vital statistics (image, name, manufacturer, manufacturer’s ID number, date of purchase, number of sterilization cycles, repair history, and location). This is the ultimate safety, asset management, and cost savings solution for health care institutions designed for instrumentation in and out of the surgical suite.

Xerafy’s RFID UHF tags have been used for just this type of surgical instrument tracking in a number of applications, and our partner, Surgical Scanner LLC, offers a similar system built around the tags called the Surgical Safety Scanner.

white-paper-screenshotEach instrument is tagged, and then scanned and confirmed as it is added to an instrument tray. The tray is then sterilized, with the RFID tag (designed to withstand the sterilization process) automatically updating the instrument history in the data repository. OR personnel can then use a hand-held scanner to scan the tray, confirm the correct instruments are packed within seconds, and ensure that everything needed is in the kit. Non-scannable items (like surgical needles) can also be counted and tracked on the mobile computer.

A post-procedure scan confirms that all instruments are accounted for within seconds and reconcile the instruments handed off to CSSD for re-sterilization. This type of system not only ensures OR efficiency and safety, it can also aid in inventory management and improve re-stocking procedures.

To learn more about surgical instrument tracking, please download RFID for Medical Device and Surgical Instrument Tracking whitepaper by clicking on the image at the right.

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