Optimized inventory. Expiration tracking. Accurate charge capture.
So how do WaveMark’s RFID cabinets help people make better decisions? “Yes, we’re good at counting,” says Endicott. “And we help hospital staff manage expired product and replenish product automatically. We save lots of time on the operational side.” But the real dollar savings come from the data that allows staff to answer critical bottom line questions:
• What IS the best deal I can get for this lab?
• Should I buy in bulk?
• Should I consign products?
• Should I reduce the variation of vendors?At a time when cost reduction in health care could not be more critical, Endicott insists it is “definitely about the data.” Especially when 10-15 percent of the volume of products in a hospital represents 80-90% of the cost. Of the some 15,000 items on a hospital’s regular shopping list, about 85 percent cost $5-10 apiece. Syringes, drapes, bandages, products they buy a lot of. That leaves 2500 or so items that average around $800 each. So there’s a steep cost differentiation between the bundle of cheaper products and the expensive medical devices, where they need just enough, but not too much due to the cost burden.
How it works
That’s where WaveMark CIMS™, a clinical inventory management system, comes in. RFID tags are placed on each item as it’s received through the hospital supply chain. Product information is captured from the product bar code, assigned to the RFID tag, and saved into the WaveMark CIMS database for real-time medical device tracking via the internet. No huge IT investment that has to be embedded into the hospital data center.
Using healthcare RFID technology, readers track the individual tags on each item and report on its status. Smart cabinets identify the disposition of items every 18 minutes. With multiple readers and redundancy of reads, a continuous read cycle captures the disposition as products are removed or returned to the shelf. No more manual counting.
Hospital staffs simply wave the item at the Point of Service reader to capture its usage, resulting in more accurate target inventory, product replenishment, and charge capture. Users log on to the internet and view a host of user-friendly reports and analytical tools to effectively manage inventory supply levels. A customer-driven company, WaveMark focuses a lot of energy on customizing the reports to the individual needs of hospitals, so there are generally three or four new web-based software releases annually. But they are all included in the subscription. No more expensive upgrades.
And yes, it is a subscription service, not a capital acquisition. WaveMark retains ownership of the equipment. Hospitals and surgi-centers subscribe to the service, which WaveMark updates continuously. No more technology obsolescence.
Medical OEMs, with lots of product in the field on consignment, are also benefiting from WaveMark CIMS. Historically, these manufacturers have struggled with a lack of visibility to these expensive resources with no way to track expired product. With WaveMark’s solution, they can provide better service to their customers, a more cost-effective supply chain for their shareholders and, ultimately, improved patient safety.
WaveMark has chosen MackMedical as its manufacturing arm. There are currently seven RFID-enabled cabinets in WaveMark’s portfolio, including a five-shelf cabinet, five-shelf cabinet with locking doors, hanging cabinet with six hangers, bin for tall boxes, mobile four-shelf cabinet, tabletop one-shelf cabinet, and a hanging cabinet with doors that is still in development.
All models feature RFID technology and are built of high grade steel and engineering thermoplastics. They are each subjected to a rigorous cycle of quality testing that includes:
• 54-step build check sheet to verify proper configuration of critical elements
• Hi-Pot test to ensure power supplies and safety grounds are correctly configured
• Several software checks for proper configuration and setup
• Physical checks on motors
• Communication/connectivity checks between boards, computers, motors
• Full performance test with calibrated test set to simulate actual use
• 48-hour burn-in with second full performance test
• Verification of communications within cabinet and from cabinet to server
• Final quality audit prior to packaging.
Additionally, all work instructions are formatted with quality checks at key points of subassembly.
Wringing out waste
“The beauty of WaveMark CIMS is that it’s driving waste out of the system that burdens both hospitals and manufacturers,” adds Endicott. Through RFID technology that is turbo-charged by the web, WaveMark is enabling razor-thin inventories and real-time inventory analysis, as well as saving countless hours of time.
On March 23, 2010, The Affordable Care Act was signed into law. “If anything, it will be positive for WaveMark because there’s going to be even more emphasis on the cost-effectiveness of care,” says Endicott. “To the extent that WaveMark has helped our customers reduce cost, increase revenue and improve margins, I think the new health care bill is going to serve us well.”
Contact: Thom McMahon, Mack Program Manager