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UHF solutions for tracking surgical instruments & hospital equipment

Successful RFID Surgical Instrument Trial At BMI Hendon

Spa Track Medical Limited, renown RFID healthcare innovators, have successfully completed an RFID tracking trial involving supplementary surgical instruments at BMI Hendon Hospital, in partnership with instrument manufacturer – Surgical Holdings UK and software provider – Health Edge Solutions Limited.

BMI Hendon is one of 59 hospitals / healthcare facilities owned by BMI Healthcare, a leading UK provider of independent healthcare. BMI Hospital Decontamination Limited covers most of the UK processing 12.5 million instruments via its 4 units, two of which use advanced endoscopy decontamination procedures.

Tom Lainton, IT Manager, BMI Hospital Decontamination Limited said, “The conclusion of the trial is that Spa Track RFID tracking is a suitable solution for our supplementary items. During the trial we proved that the Spa Track solution integrated seamlessly with our current Health Edge tracking system (HESSDA v7.0.011). There is no technical reason to delay implementing the Spa Track solution for our customers.”


Excited about the multi-read capabilities of RFID technology, BMI  approached  Spa Track who partner with software supplier – Health Edge and instrument manufacturer – Surgical Holdings.  They wanted to prove the automated Spa Track RFID system by starting with their supplementary instruments.

Typically hospitals may have to sterilise 100,000 supplementary  instruments per year and depend on operator skills to identify and record the instrument type in the cleaning process.

Both trays of instruments and supplementary instruments are challenging to track with manual, paper-based or barcoded systems, but supplementary instruments in particular are difficult to track automatically.

Surgical instruments in hospitals are organised in tray sets of usually up to 60 instruments  (i.e. readily available instrument trays for a specific surgical operation types – e.g. knee replacement,  hip replacement etc.).  Additionally, unique items are also provided in their own pack as single supplementary instruments being made available in addition to tray sets as and when needed. Supplementary instruments are not easy to track once they are removed for use out of their packaging.  They tend to carry no identification markings at all in most hospitals.

The objectives of this trial were to:

– test the suitability of the Spa Track pods and tablet reader before, during and after sterilisation process.

– test accuracy of read and read rates.

– test steadfastness of tag attachment to instrument.

– monitor any interference with surgical performance.

Tom Lainton added, “During the trial our staff found RFID to be more user friendly than the old barcode technology that we have tried previously.  Our RFID read rate was far better than that we had experienced with linear bar codes and the tags did not interfere with the surgeon’s performance at all.  In fact none of our theatre staff noticed the pods were there.  The Spa Track pods are very securely fastened to instruments and withstood the high temperatures and harsh environment of our instrument cleaning cycles. All tags during the trial remained securely fastened.”

To discuss your surgical instrument tracking challenges please call Martin Johnson at Spa Track Medical on 01905 792409. Outside of office hours you can reach Spa Track via their online form here.

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