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Addenbrooke’s invests in RFID for theatre inventory management

Addenbrooke’s, one of the largest and best known hospitals in the UK, is using latest RFID technology from Harland Simon for inventory control and the efficient provision of supplies to their busy theatres. Integrated with the GHX Powergate Inventory Management database, the RFID Discovery system allows Addenbrooke’s to centralise their theatre supply chain operation to streamline the process of inventory management through a picking and kitting solution.

Phillip Lapish, Theatres Procurement Manager at Addenbrooke’s Hospital comments: “Clinical staff in the local theatre areas used to prepare all inventory required for operations. Centralising this process using the theatre kitting solution means that clinical staff now have more time to spend on patient care.”

Lapish continues: “One of the biggest benefits for us is being able to significantly reduce our stock holding whilst guaranteeing that there will always be sufficient inventory available for operations. This is largely due to the centralisation of inventory and not having excess duplicated stock in several areas. Lower overall stock holding, having an accurate picture of what is being used and regular replenishment in a central area also help minimise waste as fewer items are going out of date.”

The knowledge of clinical staff about the required consumables for specific types of operations has been captured on the system in the form of pick-lists. For each type of operation, central supply chain staff download the relevant pick-list to a handheld scanning device which indicates the pick location in the central store. Items are then scanned and added to a tote box specific for each patient, which is sealed and delivered to the local theatre area. Using passive RFID labels on theatre consumables means that additional ‘local’ items used in operations can be added to the list, enabling Addenbrooke’s to record what has actually been used for each operation.

Lapish explains: “This means all consumables used can be accounted for, unused items can be placed back in stock and inventory can be replenished as required. It also allows us to calculate an accurate overall material cost of every operation.”

Andy James, Sales Manager for RFID Discovery, comments: “Integrating the RFiD Discovery solution with the GHX Powergate inventory system has been an exciting project at Addenbrookes. It is early days but looking at the current performance of the theatres picking and kitting solution across Cambridge University Campus, it's clear that this is an area where substantial improvements have been delivered, including significant savings in theatre inventory and visibility of patient level costing.”