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    Comments (0) Healthcare – The benefits of rugged devices in clinical settings

    Modern technology is instrumental in providing patient care, saving time and reducing errors.  The last few years has seen a monumental shift towards mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets, however many healthcare settings have opted for consumer devices in a bid to reduce costs. While the initial outlay may be lower, consumer devices are simply not designed for the day-to-day rigours of the healthcare environment and their failure can put patients at risk.  In this blog we take a look at the benefits of investing in healthcare-specific devices over their consumer cousins.

    Battery Life

    Patient care is the number one priority in a healthcare setting and practitioners need to know that their devices won’t let them down. With the enhanced battery life of a rugged device you can be sure that it will last an entire shift - and then some.  When your battery does need charging, you can avoid device downtime with hot swappable batteries which can be changed in seconds, ensuring you don’t have to pause patient care because your device has powered down.

    Built for Purpose

    Unlike their consumer counterparts, enterprise devices are designed and built for purpose. Encased in disinfectant ready plastics and coated with antimicrobial material, your healthcare-ready device can withstand the rigorous cleaning required in order to ensure patient safety. With high ingress protection (IP) ratings, your mobile computer or tablet can withstand multiple knocks and drops without breaking, so you can always put your patients first.

    Multi-Purpose Design

    Modern mobile computers come with a range of optional enhancements such as barcode scanners and NFC/RFID readers. With unparalleled functionality, you only ever need one device to hand. Read customer ID tags, scan medications, access patient records and communicate with colleagues all with one single device.

    Screen Sensitivity

    Need to use a touchscreen with wet hands or while wearing gloves? No problem.  Purpose built mobile computers and tablets offer heightened screen sensitivity so you don’t have to interrupt patient care to access your screen, especially in an emergency situation.

    Total Cost of Ownership

    Consumer devices are built to be replaced every couple of years and while they may be less expensive to begin with, their lack of durability means they fail more often and are more susceptible to breakage. You can reasonably expect to replace a consumer device used in an enterprise environment four times sooner than a rugged device so the cost soon adds up.  If you fail to invest in a purpose-built product from the beginning your hardware will actually become more costly in the long run. You know what they say, buy cheap, buy twice.

    Compatibility

    Consumer-grade devices are typically built on either Android, iOS or Windows operating systems. While Apple devices are trendy and offer great functionality for the average consumer, they are not built to integrate with complex systems such as those used to manage patient records in healthcare settings and operating system incompatibility means patching systems together. With the demise of Windows as an enterprise mobility platform, Android devices are now the market leaders in this area and are fully supported by leading manufacturers such as Zebra, Honeywell and Datalogic.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to patient safety, it pays to invest in high quality hardware. Don’t be fooled into the false economy of inexpensive consumer devices – they will end up costing you more over time and can contribute to errors or delays in patient care.

    Barcode Data’s healthcare team are experts in their field.  If you are considering a hardware refresh for your healthcare setting, we advise you get in touch for free, impartial advice on the best options for your specific needs. Call us on 03333 660 842 or visit our healthcare pages for further information.

    Comments (0) 2022 – Key dates for your calendar

    All businesses have faced some sort of disruption over the last couple of years.  Whether that be forced closure, restricted opening or being inundated beyond expected volumes, if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, we all have high hopes for 2022 and it has never been more important to plan ahead than now and make the most of what is certain and, as they say, make hay while the sun shines.

    To assist with plans for 2022, we have put together a list of key dates for your diary. Whether your business operates in retail, transport and logistics, manufacturing or healthcare, there is something for everyone in our roundup of notable events which will enable you to plan ahead and provision your business accordingly.


    January

    Dry January – If you’re in the business of non-alcoholic beverages or soft drinks, January is bumper sales time.

    1st  New Year’s Day

    17th  – Blue Monday – Said to be the saddest day of the year, if you manufacture or sell wellbeing products, this is a marketing manager’s dream.

    February

    14th Valentine’s Day – After Christmas, this is one of the biggest gifting days of the year. Ensure your stock and staffing levels are sufficient to meet demand and deliver products on time.

    March

    27th Mother’s Day – Much like Valentine’s day, it’s imperative that your stock management system is in order to meet customer demand for this very special day.

    April

    15th Good Friday – If you’re an eCommerce retailer, be prepared for an influx of orders over the long weekend and ensure your staffing levels are boosted ready for reopening on Tuesday.

    17th Easter Sunday

    18th Easter Monday

    May

    2nd May Day Bank Holiday

    June

    2nd Spring Bank Holiday – Usually a Monday, this Spring bank holiday falls on a Thursday this year due to the Queen’s Jubilee.  Falling just after ‘payday’ this could be a busy weekend for eCommerce retailers.

    3rd Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee – An additional bank holiday in honour of Her Majesty.

    19th Father’s Day – Another date to be prepared for well in advance. Ensure your stock levels are sufficient to meet demand and if you operate a courier service, staffing levels are crucial to delivering on time.

    July

    The school summer holidays begin this month. Ensure your seasonal summer stock is in place.

    August

    It may seem premature, but if your hardware isn’t up to par and you need a refresh, now is the time to speak to your supplier if Christmas is a busy time for your business. The global chip shortage is expected to affect hardware stocks for at least one more year so ordering in advance is essential.

    16th End of school summer holidays (Scotland)

    29th Summer Bank Holiday

    September

    As summer comes to an end, it’s time to planning for seasonal changes to your business. If winter is your busy period then it’s time to stock up on your media and peripherals and, if it’s your quiet time, it’s an ideal opportunity to assess your existing estate and plan for the future.

    1st End of school summer holidays (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

    October

    With Black Friday on the horizon and Christmas to follow, now is the time to prepare your business for the busiest shopping and fulfilment period of the year.

    November

    25th Black Friday – The busiest shopping day of the year and a key date for manufacturers, retailers, warehousing and fulfilment houses to be aware of.

    28th Cyber Monday – Traditionally this is the big day for consumer technology sales.

    December

    24th Christmas Eve

    25th Christmas Day

    26th Boxing Day

    31st New Year’s Eve

    As we say goodbye to 2021, our team is looking forward to supporting our customers into and beyond 2022. If you are considering a hardware upgrade or refresh, or you would like to discuss our software options, please get in touch. Our team would be delighted to offer advice and support. Please call us on 03333 660 842 or submit your details here and a member of our team will be in touch.

    Comments (0) Rugged Devices – How to Get the Best ROI Over Your Device’s Lifetime

     

    Rugged devices are built to last and withstand difficult conditions, including hazardous situations, harsh environments and repeated drops to concrete. They are used across a wide range of industries from field force workers to the emergency services to healthcare, but also in less obvious settings such as retail and warehouses.

    However, users must be careful not to confuse a rugged device with a consumer device encased in a ‘rugged’ surround (think iPad in a rubber case or similar). To be classified as truly rugged, a device must comply with a standard known as Ingress Protection (IP) ratings – a device must be rated IP54 or higher which means that they can withstand specified levels of water, dust, drops and shocks.

    So why would you choose a rugged device over a non-rugged device? Aside from the durability gained from the IP rating, rugged devices are designed for longevity. Unlike their consumer counterparts, rugged devices have inherently longer lifespans thanks to their design and the quality of components they contain. Everything about them is built to last, from expanded battery capacity, extended software support and higher levels of security. They are also manufactured for compatibility with essential peripherals and modular additions, including RFID readers, printers and scanners which can be used to modify the device for a specific purpose.

    If you’re considering the roll-out of a fleet of rugged devices within your business, it’s important that they are manageable from a central system – especially if your workers are on the road. Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems, such as SureMDM from 42 Gears, are unique to enterprise rugged devices and offer benefits you simply cannot find with consumer devices.

    A good MDM will allow you to support your hardware estate throughout their lifecycle, from enrolment, to provisioning to deployment, management and then retirement.  Let’s take look in a bit more detail:

    Enrolment

    This is the initial phase of the rugged device lifecycle, it’s introduction to the business and connection to the network and, when introducing large quantities, this can be a complex process. There are tools available to simplify enrolment, such as staging tools provided by the manufacturer and mass operating system enrolment mechanisms such as Google’s Zero Touch service.

    Provisioning

    All new devices must be provisioned, that is set up and configured with all apps, software and connections needed by your workforce. It’s important to note that blocking access to unauthorised content is also a vital element to the provisioning process. Without an MDM this would be a tedious process, provisioning each individual device one at a time. However with an MDM you can push apps, content and even your network settings to all devices at once.

    Deployment

    Quite simply, this is the supply of your devices to your workforce and ensuring they are appropriately setup with network and device security. If you have configured your devices correctly, your workforce should be able to pick them up and use them almost instantly.

    Management

    The ongoing monitoring of your hardware estate for issues, correct usage, device health and ensuring apps and software are always up-to-date is all part of the device management process. With an average lifespan of 10+ years for a rugged device, you can significantly reduce workload and increase device uptime by utilising an MDM, ensuring you are getting the maximum return on your investment.

    Retirement

    Secure removal of your devices once they reach their end of life and disposing of them correctly is essential for proper device management. While your device maybe past it’s useful life, you should be able to transfer any software licenses and subscriptions to your replacement device using your MDM. You can also use the MDM to wipe the device of all data for maximum security.

    Conclusion

    While rugged devices are known for being sturdy and long-lasting, their benefits far exceed their physical characteristics. Using an MDM solution to manage your devices will ensure that you squeeze every ounce of productivity and value out of your hardware investment. And, best of all, a quality MDM will manage much more than your rugged mobile computers. Integrate your scanners, printers and more and you have a complete ecosystem within which to manage your hardware estate.

    For more information on selecting the right rugged device or MDM for your enterprise, however large or small, get in touch with our expert team for free advice. Call us on 03333 660 842 or contact us here.

    Comments (0) Introducing Milk Track 360 – The Modern Solution for Safe Administration of Breastmilk in a Healthcare Setting

    The accurate tracking of breastmilk is an important safety procedure in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Intensive Care Nurseries (ICN), ensuring that babies are fed with the correct milk and that precious expressed milk is kept safe until it’s needed. Without an accurate labelling and tracking solution, mistakes could easily be made as busy nursing staff strive to care for their patients.

    Bar Code Data’s proprietary solution, Milk Track 360, ensures that NICU and ICN patients receive the correct milk every time, preventing mix-ups and other errors which can occur with a manual checking system. The solution can also be applied to formula and donated breastmilk which, once pasteurised, is labelled and tracked right through to the point of feeding.

    Using the latest barcoding technology, labels and wristbands, the solution will identify both mother and baby and match the expressed breastmilk to the appropriate patient, ensuring the correct milk is used every single time. The digital system which collects live data also provides accurate reporting of stock levels and usage, feeding into the hospital’s strategic decision making processes for the management of breastmilk, formula stock and donors.


    ​The system is easily customisable to the setting and patient requirements. Benefits include:

    • Patient safety – the correct milk is administered every time
    • Stock management – never run out of formula or donated milk
    • Reduce waste – ensure precious milk is used before it expires
    • Patient involvement – patients can contribute by recording feeds and expressed milk
    • Reduce errors – automate your processes to avoid human error
    • No additional hardware required – use existing scanners, mobile computers and printers

    This system has been designed specifically for the management of breastmilk and formula in NICU and ICN settings and is GS1 accredited. Niche benefits include:

    • Positive patient identification
    • System can scan GS1 and non-GS1 barcodes
    • Built to support Milk Kitchen and specific feed preparation workflows
    • Full visibility of all live stock levels
    • Full audit trail and accountability
    • Can be configured to adopt your clinical logic for storage and usage

    Milk Track 360 can be implemented using your existing barcode scanning hardware or as part of a hardware refresh. Barcode Data’s healthcare product range is fully disinfectant-ready and the medical-grade materials can withstand the rigours of a healthcare setting, so you can ensure appropriate hygiene levels and patient safety are maintained.

    For more information on our proprietary breastmilk tracking solution, please speak to a member of our Healthcare Team on 03333 660 842 or contact us here.

    Comments (0) Dropping connections? Cut out the noise with Zebra’s Bluetooth Channel Masking

     

    We all have Bluetooth® devices these days and use them for all sorts of purposes, whether connecting your phone to your vehicle’s hands-free device or your smart speaker at home, or at work when you connect a mobile computer to your headset or scanner. But what many people don’t realise is that this creates electronic ‘noise’ which can destabilise device connections. While this may not be a significant issue in a domestic situation, the amount of Bluetooth devices in operation at any one time in a workplace can create serious connectivity issues.

    Imagine this: your warehouse employees are beginning their shift; they have powered up their work devices, paired them with headsets, wearable displays, their ring scanners and whatever else they require to do work their shift. You’ve installed an excellent Wi-Fi network so that all these devices can remain connected and operational but somehow your workers are not as productive as they should be as their connections repeatedly fail.

    Why? It could be electronic noise.

    Just like Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connectivity can be affected by other devices in operation in close proximity. If your working environment is surrounded by a large number of electrical devices which emit radio frequency noise, such as machinery, beacons, sensors and the like, you may experience interference with signals.

    Bluetooth devices rely on a consistent and stable connection. If the connection drops, even for a second, data can be lost. Imagine you’re scanning a dozen items for picking but your connection drops halfway through and you’re completely unaware; that’s half your inventory data lost for that order and you don’t even know it. Or, for example, you’re using a wearable headset which displays your pick list in front of your eyes. Where do you go next when your connection drops and your list disappears?

    It's a common yet often overlooked issue but there is a solution - Zebra’s Bluetooth Channel Masking.

    Bluetooth masking can help to prevent signal issues with devices which are failing to pair or continually dropping connection. Zebra’s StageNow can be used to select and mask the correct Bluetooth channels. Other MDM or EMM solutions can also be set up to deploy masking through Zebra’s OEMConfig which is powered by Mx.

    If you are using multiple devices which require Bluetooth masking, this can be achieved on any Zebra Android™ mobile device, including those using Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

    For more information on how to set up Bluetooth masking on your Zebra Android devices, speak to our friendly team by calling 03333 660 842. Please also visit our interactive Zebra catalogue to discover compatible devices.

    Comments (0) Why every warehouse needs a configurable WMS

    Inaccurate inventory can be costly for any business, leading to over or underselling, inability to fulfil orders and over or understocking your warehouse. It eats into your profits, can result in unhappy customers and could even breach of service level agreements resulting in additional fees or cancelled orders. Figures show that businesses which don’t implement a robust warehouse management system (WMS) only have accurate stock data 63% of the time and up to 1/3 or businesses miss shipping deadlines because they have sold an item which was actually out of stock.

    A WMS automates processes and accurately tracks inventory, meaning less opportunity for error and less time spent locating stock.

    • Inbound stock is put away and accurately recorded against purchase orders
    • Stock can be located in an instant
    • Outbound stock is released against sales orders
    • Real-time stock levels are accurate and available at the click of a button

    If your business is established, an off-the-shelf WMS is highly unlikely to match your existing workflows and processes.  So, choosing an out of the box solution can require significant compromise and potential changes to your existing processes, as well as retraining your staff.

    Many companies will end up overpaying for a WMS that more or less matches their processes, but often includes excessive functions which will never be used. Alternatively, some will invest a significant amount of money in developing their own, bespoke solution. This is an extremely costly method and offers diminishing returns as it requires ongoing maintenance.  If your business changes, for example you are a retailer who introduces online shopping, your in-house software will become obsolete and require expensive updates or replacement.

    The alternative is to find a highly configurable WMS that has been built with advanced functionality but which is also flexible enough to match your existing workflows and processes.

    Bar Code Data and Worx Software offer a winning combination with TagworX warehouse management software and a range of wireless and mobile technology equipment, including:

    • Barcode scanners and readers
    • Label and barcode printers
    • Terminals
    • Mobile computers
    • EPoS systems
    • RFID technology
    • Barcoding software

    We understand that each business is unique, so we will talk you through the entire process, helping you to understand exactly what steps we can take to improve your warehouse’s efficiency.

    To discuss your WMS options, please call our expert team on 03333 660 842 or for more information read our handy WMS Buyer’s Guide.

    Comments (0) Avoiding warehouse employee burnout before the busy holiday period

    With Marks and Spencer reporting that Christmas shopping is already in full swing, it seems that the traditional boost to retailers might be happening a little earlier this year. Recent stock shortages, the fuel crisis and shortages of HGV drivers have led consumers to stock up early for fear of missing out on traditional holiday staples this Christmas.  Retailers can always expect a busy holiday period, but 2021 is on track to be the busiest in a very long time.

    With the recent uptick in pandemic-related online sales and supply chain issues already mentioned, your warehouse staff are already under more pressure than ever before. So, what can you do to prepare them for the holiday season and help prevent burnout? We’ll take a look at some of the solutions available to alleviate your warehouse woes and ensure a smooth operation.

    Forecasting your staffing requirements

    It’s difficult at the best of times to know how many staff you are likely to need when seasonal variations hit, but being understaffed this holiday season is sure to have a negative impact on your employees. Start forecasting (and fulfilling!) your staffing requirements now to avoid existing employees facing any unnecessary burden which may lead to frustration, a feeling of helplessness, or even burnout.

    Intelligent workforce management solutions use algorithms to help you create the most accurate forecasts and schedules for your warehouses. They help you to schedule your staffing by using real data and artificial intelligence to do the same calculations in seconds that would take a manage several hours to perform.

    Prioritise employee tasks

    Real-time task management solutions give staff an up-to-the-minute view of all outstanding work. Installed on your warehouse mobile computers, you can automatically gather and assign tasks to the right warehouse employee, avoiding overloading any one person and ensuring that jobs are shared equally across your warehouse staff.  By ensuring that most important tasks are completed on time, you can reduce fulfilment delays and unhappy customers (and staff!).

    Simplify your communications

    Real-time communication means you can centralise messaging across your employees. Warehouse workers can contact each other at the click of a button, all without adding an extra piece of hardware for them to carry around. No more travelling back and forth to ask a question and important safety messages can be shared in an instant.

    Bar Code Data has recently partnered with Worx Software; their TagWorx solution streamlines processes using barcoding and RFID to produce real-time data for inventory and asset management. Pair with Bar Code Data’s extensive hardware range and you have a full end-to-end solution. Your business will benefit from improved workflows, more efficient (and happier) staff, and overall better customer service meaning you are fully equipped to meet the fluctuating and unpredictable demands of retail.

    For more information and free advice on how to modernise your warehouse, give our expert team a call on 03333 660 842 or contact us here.

    Comments (0) The hidden cost of ‘leaky’ assets

    When you’re running a busy company but need to reduce your cost base, one of the first things you might look to is your obvious costs such as wages, vehicles or utilities. However, you should first seek to understand your hidden costs, such as the replacement of ‘leaky’ assets which are regularly lost and could be costing your business a significant amount of money.

    An asset could mean anything from a piece of hardware like a scanner, to a pallet to reusable packaging. While it’s more obvious when a scanner or mobile computer disappears, it’s the lower value assets which can actually end up costing your business a significant amount of money if they are lost.

    Consider the type of asset that leaves your premises yet doesn’t return, meaning it has to be replaced. This could be an item which goes to a customer yet isn’t returned, or something which you send to one of your secondary sites but is never sent back. While these assets are relatively low cost, they can be high volume, so the value of lost assets can quickly add up. And, if they become something which you regularly need to replace in order to maintain your operations, they can easily be unnecessarily swept up in your ‘operating costs’. To put it into perspective, the amount spent in the US alone replacing plastic pallets and container which have simply been lost is up to $1.5bn per year.

    While we have been using the term ‘lost’, it should be recognised that this includes theft.  Pallets are a particularly hot item on the black market with about 1m being stolen every year; even reusable plastic pellets are a target for thieves!

    However if we disregard theft as a separate issue, the majority of lost assets are simply due to lack of visibility within your supply chain which leads to unnecessary replacement.  Unbelievably, much of the loss of assets can simply be attributed to simply not knowing where your assets are while they are still in your possession. One study showed that 80% of companies who thought they had lost assets actually had them onsite or in an offsite warehouse – they just had no idea!

    So if you are one of the many businesses who struggle to track your assets, falsely leading you to assume they have been stolen or lost for good and resulting in replacement costs, you should consider the alternative: asset tracking.

    Bar Code Data have teamed up with TagworX, a platform which identifies and tracks your assets. This scalable solution offers real-time data so you know exactly where everything is at any given time. TagworX offers considerable cost savings as you no longer need to overprovision your assets to compensate for loss. You also benefit from significant time savings as you can locate every asset exactly when you need it.

    TagworX uses barcodes and RFID technology to identify your inventory, is easy to install and fits within any budget. The solution can be applied to a variety of use cases, including:

    • Retail & eCommerce
    • Healthcare
    • Warehousing
    • Transport & Logistics
    • Manufacturing

    Simply log into the TagworX portal to track the movement of your assets over time and locate them in an instant. Pair with NiceLabel and Zebra Technologies for a full asset and inventory management system.

    For more information on how to use TagworX to alleviate your asset losses and save valuable time and money, call us on 03333 660 842 or email our team at sales@bcdata.co.uk.

    Comments (0) How Covid-19 has forced tech advances in the warehouse

     

    The pandemic has had a profound effect on all workplaces, regardless of industry. Some are more obvious, for example retail where shops were completely closed or subject to tight restrictions for several months at a time. However, there are ‘hidden’ workplaces, the type not seen by the general public, which have been affected and changed forever such as the warehouse.

    As with most sectors, technology has been swiftly adopted to enable business operations to continue within restrictions.  Take QR code menus for example, which have enabled restaurants to function with fewer staff and reduced face-to-face customer contact. Technology is often adopted as a driver for efficiency but if Covid-19 has taught us anything, tech is also vital to business continuity during unprecedented times.

    Is social distancing here to stay?

    One such practice which is likely to remain is that of social distancing. Just look at the effect distancing had on the flu virus in the winter of 2020/21. While we were social distancing in order to reduce the spread of Covid, we inadvertently also prevented the spread of other seasonal illnesses, with a marked fall in flu cases. So it seems that social distancing in one form or another is likely to maintain its position in the public consciousness for some time, if not forever.

    Whilst keeping our distance and wearing masks, technology stepped in to facilitate business operations, and just as much in the warehouse than in any other sector. With mobile computing, long range scanners, vehicle mounted computers and wearable technology, warehouse workers are able to carry out their tasks independently without needing to cross paths or hand paperwork back and forth, reducing traffic in the aisles and improving efficiency. Workflows can be emulated using software such as Zebra's Workforce Connect which links all devices, so picking, packing and put away can be done quickly and more efficiently than ever before. As battery technology has advanced, devices can now last an entire shift, reducing the need for swapping devices between staff or the use of multiple devices, and as many are made from high grade plastics, they can withstand repeated cleaning and disinfection.

    Supply chain visibility

    As Covid restrictions brought about a colossal shift towards eCommerce, supply chain visibility has become a key focus for businesses. The added problems of driver shortages, a global chip crisis and the recent petrol crisis have only added weight to the argument that inventory management is crucial. The days of managing stock, purchasing and sales orders across different platforms are gone, with businesses opting for a unified warehouse management system which can do everything at the click of a button. Taking this one step further and integrating with your retail solution or eCommerce software offers complete 360 degree command over your business. No more under or over selling due to poor stock visibility ensures happy customers and higher profits.

    Workforce communication

    Communication is key for an efficiently run warehouse, but if you’re trying to distance your workers or have reduced your headcount, comms can be patchy. Modern devices offer walkie talkie style functionality and hands free communication so your workers remain connected wherever they are, and whatever they are doing.  This can be powered by WiFi or 4/5G depending on your set up and the location of your staff.

    So while Covid-19 has created many hurdles for the warehouse to navigate, it has also brought technology to the fore, forcing many businesses to invest in new ways of doing things for both the health and safety of their employees, but also the survival of their operations. If you haven’t refreshed your hardware recently, or you’re ready to take the first step into modernising your warehouse, give our team a call on 03333 660 842 for free advice on how technology can boost your productivity, keep your staff safe, and help to future proof your business.

    Comments (0) The rise of RFID use in healthcare settings

    RFID technology is a key area for investment in the healthcare industry and has a wide range of safety and security applications. Regarded as an economically viable and technically sound solution, the use of RFID is healthcare is experiencing rapid growth in the UK.

    In this post we take a look at the applications and use cases of RFID technology in the NHS and other healthcare settings.

    Accurate Patient Identification

    Patient identification is a hot topic in healthcare. With the number of cases of patient mis-identification on the rise, healthcare providers are investing in new technology to prevent mistakes from being made which can result in treatment errors which can be serious and even life-threatening.

    Wristbands have been around for decades and were originally handwritten. Technology then advanced to printed bands but RFID takes this important part of patient identification even further. RFID tags inserted into the bands are scannable and allow a practitioner to check vital information, even if the patient is asleep. They can also be used to track a patient within the premises which is particularly valuable in an emergency situation and, in the days of covid-19, can be used to track people who have come into close contact with an infected patient.

    Patient tracking can also be used to maximise efficiency by identifying bottlenecks and delays in administering care.

    Reusable Asset Management

    There are many use cases for the tracking of assets in healthcare, including medical instruments, medical devices such as crash trollies which need to be located instantly in an emergency, and other assets such as patient beds and wheelchairs.

    The tracking of surgical tools ensures that every item used has been through the correct cleaning and disinfection process, reducing the instances of infection from incorrect or inadequate sterilisation.

    When high value items such as hospital beds go missing, the cost of replacement is incredibly high.  Tracking these assets is vital to keeping a handle on costs and reducing the careless behaviour that can lead to assets being misplaced or left where they shouldn’t be.

    One often overlooked reusable asset in healthcare is laundry; bed sheets, towels, reusable gowns and similar items. These too can be tagged with RFID, ensuring clean laundry is available at the point of care at all times and that it has been properly cleaned before use.

    Single Use Asset Management

    Bandages, gloves, syringes and other single-use items are vital in healthcare and must be available at the point of need at all times. While tagging each individual item is unlikely to be feasible or financially viable, the packages containing these items can be tagged and used to manage inventory as it is dispensed. Usage can also be tied to the individual user so that wastage and theft are minimised.

    Product Storage

    RFID can be used to track medicines and liquid-filled assets such as blood bags so that items can be located quickly and easily.  Inventory tracking becomes instant and there is no more need for frequent stock counts to ensure that supplies are kept to appropriate levels. These tags also ensure the authenticity of medicines, preventing the inadvertent use of counterfeit products.

    Security

    RFID can play an important role hospital security by preventing access to unauthorised persons. Restricted areas such as patient wards, operating theatres and medical dispensaries can be protected from unauthorised access using RFID staff badges to gain entry.

    Bar Code Data are experts in RFID design and application and can assist with your healthcare setting’s needs. We have been partnering with the NHS and similar organisations for many years and can ensure your solutions are compliant and fit for purpose. Please call our expert team on 03333 660 842 for help and advice on anything covered in this article or visit our Healthcare Solutions page for more information.