Suneil Mandava is the President and CEO of Mobile Aspects, Inc.
How will RFID overcome the barriers that have prevented the adoption of barcodes and electronic medical records?
RFID solutions have the capability to dramatically increase the quality of care in hospitals. RFID eliminates the need for manual compliance, such as scanning bar codes, pushing buttons or typing information into a computer. In the often hectic and fast paced environment of a hospital, those types of manual steps are the downfall to any system. You cannot expect people to constantly scan bar codes in the middle of an operation, when a patient maybe in a critical situation. Because of this, often bar code systems are not accurate. I have had customers tell me the reason they replaced their bar code systems with Mobile Aspects RFID systems is because they had to go back and check the information daily, wasting valuable man hours. RFID technology can make care safer and more efficient.
Another major issue with the various bar code and electronic medical record technologies out there is that they are so disparate and not interfacing in the hospitals to provide one portal for all information. Mobile Aspects has brought the various RFID needs of a hospital together into One System of CARE(tm). From any web browser in the hospital, caregivers can see information about their supplies, drugs, assets and patients. In addition, Mobile Aspects has taken the philosophy of having an open architecture in our RFID healthcare middleware, to integrate with the various IT systems of the hospital. Our middleware then adds context to the vast information being gathered, and provides instant alerts and information as needed.
What characteristics make a facility a good candidate for Mobile
Most hospitals can utilize Mobile Aspects RFID technology. Our One System of CARE(tm) is a suite of RFID solutions for hospitals that are all integrated at the software level – from supply to drug to patient and asset tracking. US hospitals are concerned mainly about patient care, which is why we have the best hospitals in the world. However, this causes inefficiencies in tracking of supplies and drugs. The typical hospital does not bill for 10-12% of their billable product, which is lost top line revenue. This is because people are more concerned about the patient, which they should be. However, Mobile Aspects RFID supply systems are in the background ensuring that all items are billed for and product is reordered. In addition, the system is constantly checking whether items have expired or have been recalled and provide an alert if necessary.
There is also a tremendous focus on patient safety. Our mobile RFID drug and anesthesia workstations ensure that the right drug is given to the right patient at the right time. Instantly, Mobile Aspects RFID systems check whether a drug may cause harm to a patient, and provides an alert if there is a potential. Our systems all serve different purposes, but tied into our One System of CARE software, make patient care safer and more efficient.
Hospitals are looking to increase patient care and also save money. The One System of CARE provides a system to do that. Hospitals can start with the one piece they are in need of most, and add on our other modules easily any time later on.
What role does government regulation play in healthcare facilities’
implementations of RFID?
It all depends on what you are doing with RFID technology. Definitely, there are FCC and CSA issues, but Mobile Aspects has already received FCC and CSA certification for our products, though it takes quite some time. The FDA typically comes into play when you are in the body or used during surgery. Though our systems often sit inside the operating room to provide product and information to the caregivers, we do not typically have FDA issues.
Given the often conflicting goals of quality of care and cost savings,
what metrics should companies like Mobile Aspects use to demonstrate
the value of their offerings?
A big benefit of Mobile Aspects’ One System of CARE is that you can both increase the quality of care AND increase efficiency in hospitals because the RFID solutions are integrated together. This is another major advantage over systems where manual compliance is important. Our iRIS supply systems have been able to show a return on investment for hospitals in the first month they are put in, but also increase patient safety. The metrics we use to show this is an elimination of misbillings, a reduction of wasted / lost inventory, a reduction in carrying costs, and also by dramatically eliminating labor. Another key metric is accuracy – compared with the 70-80% accuracy rates of manual entry systems, such as bar code scanning, button pushing, or keyboard entry, Mobile Aspects RFID systems have demonstrated greater than 99.5% accuracy in tracking product. Though those metrics show return on investment, our iRIS system ensures that all products are there for the patients when needed, and also enable the caregivers to spend much more time with the patients.
For our drug carts, we show the metric of how many alerts did our system provide, which shows many potential sources of drug administration error we have eliminated. By eliminating the onus on the user to scan the drug, scan the patient, and scan him/herself, the system is always there as a safety net. In addition, our RFID drug carts also increase efficiency by ensuring patients are billed for and inventory management costs are reduced. Our patient and asset tracking systems are able to increase safety, by always knowing where patients are, and throughput which increase revenue for the hospital. A truly integrated RFID system can ensure that the goals of quality of care and cost savings, are not conflicting, but actually work hand in hand.