IBM and Implanet, a manufacturer of implantable medical devices have teamed up to develop BeepN’Track, a new service that traces the movement of Implanet’s products–including knee and hip implants–across its supply chain to hospitals.
The BeepN’Track service uses RFID to track medical devices from Implanet to hospitals. Prior to shipping, Implanet affixes an RFID tag with a unique serial number to the packaging of each individual device.
Before a surgical procedure takes place, the hospital uses a handheld reader to scan the tag from the medical device being implanted and stores that information along with the patient’s records.
The tag is given to the patient after surgery so he or she will have all available information concerning the implant; for instance, if the implanted medical device is the subject of a recall.
The information stored on the tags is gathered by IBM’s WebSphere Sensor Events software and transmitted to IBM’s InfoSphere Traceability Server software. This allows Implanet to manage and share information with the systems of any trading partners that adhere to GS1 EPCglobal’s Electronic Product Code Information Services standard for capturing and sharing sensor data.