- Published literature relating to the tagging of medical equipment was limited in quantity and quality, but illustrates the potential time and resource savings that could be gained from equipment tagging compared with no tagging and manual equipment searching.
- A survey of NHSScotland health boards found limited use of medical equipment tagging and no use of Bluetooth tagging beyond recent pilot studies.
- A recent pilot study conducted within the GRI Emergency Department concluded that the use of Bluetooth tagging led to a reduction in staff time spent searching for medical equipment.
- A cost-minimization analysis based on the pilot data concluded that using
Bluetooth tagging to track medical equipment was associated with lower costs of in excess of £600,000 over 5 years compared with no tagging system. The results are driven by a reduction in time (and associated resource costs) spent searching for medical equipment and the value of missing assets avoided. The results are sensitive to the base case assumptions.
- There is no off-the-shelf solution available for medical equipment tracking.
Boards would need to adapt current technology options to suit their local
requirements and environments.
What were we asked to look at
Is the Floki Bluetooth Tagging system a cost-saving intervention for tracking medical equipment in a hospital setting compared with active RFID and Wi-Fi tracking?
Currently the main technology in use for this in NHS Scotland is RFID (radio frequency identification). The referrer is looking for an independent review on using Bluetooth tagging to quantify the efficiency gains. The comparator would be RFID and potentially Wi-Fi technology for tracking medical equipment.
Why is this important
During a time when cost saving are crucial for the NHS as well as infection control, this is a relevant topic and aligns with CEL 35, The Scottish Government’s Policy for Property and Asset Management in NHS (https://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/cel2010_35.pdf), as it could have a positive impact on service provision to patients and ensure medical equipment provides full value to the NHS.