Hospitals and the way they are run is changing. With the emergence of RFID technology, hospitals and healthcare facilities are now able to manage their inventory more efficiently and with ease. In this article, we will discuss medical smart shelves and how they can benefit the healthcare industry.
What Are Medical Smart Cabinets and Shelves?
Medical smart cabinets and shelves are RFID-enabled, which allows them to automatically track inventory as it is packed into the shelf and removed. This allows medical practitioners to always be aware of the inventory available to them. The shelves themselves are fitted with antennas and readers. Each item placed on the shelf receives an RFID label that connects them to the inventory management system. From there, the system can automatically detect when an item is removed from the shelf.
The Benefits of Smart Shelves for Healthcare
Though smart shelves might seem like they are wasted in a hospital, they are not. There are a variety of benefits that these RFID-enabled shelves offer hospitals that improve the healthcare services provided.
- Loss Prevention: As with most industries, shrinkage is a problem faced by the healthcare industry. Inventory is often lost to theft or products reaching their expiry date. A smart shelving system will be able to notify one if a product has been removed when it should not have been and keep track of the expiry date of products. This will also prevent product loss due to displacement as each product can be easily found.
- Inventory Reductions: Due to the reduction in shrinkage and the fact that one will always have a clear idea of the inventory on the shelf, one will be able to accurately calculate the amount of stock required. One will therefore never over-order and many reductions have been seen in the amount of stock ordered due to proper management practices that are supported by RFID technology.
- Cost Efficient: The reduction in shrinkage, coupled with a lower frequency of restocking has shown many cost benefits. This means that hospitals and healthcare centres will be able to use this extra money in other vital areas.
- Automated Inventory Tracking: As each item receives an RFID label, and there is a clear indication of when products are removed from a shelf, as well as where these products are at all times, these systems can automatically track a shelf’s inventory. All that is required by staff is to check when an item needs to be restocked. As these systems are cloud-based, one can check this from anywhere in the hospital. Some systems can even notify you when stock is running low.
- Inventory Availability: As inventory levels will constantly be monitored, there is no danger of a product not being available. Therefore, doctors and nurses will always have access to important items and products when required. This is extremely important in a healthcare environment as the availability of a product could literally be the difference between life and death in certain situations.
- Increased Productivity: Staff will not have to manually check stock levels or try to locate misplaced products and items. This will allow them to have a lot more free time to perform other tasks and tend to patients.
Milestone Integrated Sytems specialises in the installation of RFID solutions in a variety of industries. Contact our team to find out how you can make use of this technology in your healthcare facility.