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The Visible Value Blog

Better Equipment Management Leads to Better Patient Care

Posted by Zebra N. America

October 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM


As one of only 15 Level 1 trauma centers in Texas, University Health System’s hospital in San Antonio has one of the busiest emergency departments around, with nearly 70,000 visits each year. To help treat these critical patients as efficiently as possible, the hospital has 7,000 smart IV pumps in its inventory ready to administer lifesaving fluids and medications.

There was only one problem. Nobody could find a pump when they needed one.

Nurses had taken to stashing the pumps in various locations around the facility so they’d always have one on hand, which made it extremely difficult to know where the pumps were at any particular point in time.

This also made it much more difficult for maintenance technicians to keep up with fixing and cleaning the pumps.

The net result was an equipment utilization rate of less than 45%, and less than 10% of all pumps were available at any given time, which meant patients were waiting (sometimes up to two hours) for treatment as people searched for an available pump.

A passive solution to an active problem

The biomedical engineering department at UHS implemented a closed-loop, end-to-end approach that provided enhanced visibility to the smart IV pumps’ status and whereabouts using Zebra’s passive RFID real-time locationing system with FX7500 fixed RFID readers. The system also utilized Mainspring’s Hospital Operations Management (HOM) software platform to track and manage tagged pumps and automate the workflow.

Now, the wait time is down to eight to 12 minutes, and equipment utilization is up to 70%.

Read more about how UHS improved patient care with Zebra’s passive RFID technology in our new success story.

Topics: RFID, Healthcare, North America, Asset Management