In addition to making sure items can be located when needed, tagging items has also prevented broken equipment from reentering the patient care environment. After a malfunctioning IV pump was pulled from AFCH for service it was not properly sequestered and unknowingly made its way back into circulation. Before the RFID system was in place, there would have been no way for staff to find the malfunctioning pump until it was put into use. However, since the item was tagged, the broken IV pump was tracked down and pulled from service before it may have harmed a patient.
Being able to quickly find items has also decreased the amount of time staff is taken away from patient care duties.
“The tags have allowed staff to focus on patient care instead of searching for equipment,” said Tami Morin, a clinical nurse manager in Emergency Services. “By the time evening shift approaches, we are usually at capacity and in need of patient carts. With the tags, we can see instantly where they are.”
“I can look, even from home, and alert staff where they can find something,” continued Morin. “This saves us time and manpower, as we previously would have had to send a tech on a wild goose chase through the hallways looking for our carts.”
Tags are also being used by nurses to signify when they are done using equipment. Each tag has a button that can be double clicked when the item is no longer needed. Once triggered, housekeeping will remove the piece of equipment the next time they come to clean the room.
“Our hope is that we will get this equipment back much sooner with this method,” said Scheuer. “And then we’ll be able to get more uses out of each piece of equipment.”