The Challenge

RFID + science + integration

UHF solutions for tracking surgical instruments & hospital equipment

How do we improve patient safety AND reduce costs?

At a time when global healthcare providers are already encountering severe cutbacks due to difficult economic conditions there is also an urgent need to improve patient safety as the sector expects a significant increase in surgical requirements from an ageing population.

Current processes for tracking the surgical instruments around the world are highly inadequate and healthcare providers responsible for carrying out surgical procedures face some serious global issues.

Global Issues How can Spa Track Help?
Time Pressures Time spent counting surgical instruments in UK hospitals is estimated to be costing the NHS over £160 Million per annum. A tray set, up to 50 instruments, should be counted manually three times per procedure in the operating theatre (once before and twice after) and twice in sterile services department (as the tray set is prepared for theatre and again when it returns for cleaning) equating to staff labour time of approximately 60 minutes. Productivity Gains & Cost Savings A tray count takes 12 seconds per tray with the Spa Track system and provides clear and accurate information and a graphical display of any missing items. This saving in staff resources can be channelled into more productive activities. Best practice recommends five counts per procedure. At 12 seconds per count with the Spa Track system counting time is down from over an hour to just 1 minute.
Infection Control Credible evidence regarding CJD (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease) and Alzheimer’s cases has been linked to surgical instrument contamination. Risks from prions have raised concerns over the processing and recording of surgical instrument use. This has created an urgent need to be able to store, and quickly retrieve, individual instrument and device data from patient records. Pinpoint Contaminated Instruments Spa Track will enable hospitals to keep accurate and reliable records of individual instruments and devices as they are used on patients. This will enable management to pinpoint potentially contaminated instruments for speedy removal from inventory and enable them to take other necessary actions.
Legislative Pressures As a result of mounting concerns globally about infection control issues authorities are responding by increasing the levels of legislation they will enforce to ensure patient safety. The NHS recommendations under CFPP 01-01 stipulate that tracking and tracing of instruments is an essential requirement of the MDR. Under the US Food & Drug Administration’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) regulations, there is a requirement to link the medical devices and instruments used on every patient record. Confident Compliance Spa Track understands the current and imminent legislation facing healthcare providers. The Spa Track system is designed to work with and compliment existing hospital systems. Every tagged, reusable instrument used in surgery is automatically recorded against a patient record.
Retained Surgical Instruments The prevention of ‘retained surgical instruments’ (RSI) after surgery (i.e. instruments left inside patients) is a high priority for all hospitals. Known around the world as a ‘never event’ this is a global problem that can lead to great human suffering and increasing levels of litigation. Improved Vigilance The instant display of tray contents on the Spa Track scanner enables the scrub nurse to quickly advise the surgical team of any missing items and take appropriate action. This reduces stress for the surgical team and avoids the need to XRay the patient alleviating trauma for the patient and cost for the hospital. Litigation prevention relating to RSI, which averages out at a cost of £59K per incident in the UK, is a clear benefit offered by this system.
Surgical Interventions Set To Soar With an ageing population worldwide global healthcare organisations are expecting significant increases in the number of surgical interventions required each year. In some parts of the world the increase is expected to be as high as 50% by 2020. Ability To Cope With Increased Demand Clearly hospitals facing this kind of growth in demand will need to improve productivity wherever possible. By minimising the preparation and counting procedures relating to tray checking, the theatre team will have more time available for treating additional patients increasing income for the hospital unit. The sterilisation staff will also gain more time enabling them to handle higher volumes of throughput in clean rooms.
Costly Mistakes The counting is done by highly skilled nurses in theatres but in clean rooms unskilled workers take responsibility for it. It can take up to 2 years to train an operative to become proficient due to the sheer number of unidentified instrument types. Mistakes lead to cancelled operations and delays in theatre scheduling causing anxiety for patients. Improved Quality, Speed & Accuracy The Spa Track smart scanner provides a fast and accurate report on the tray contents and automatically prints a completed checksheet. Improving the quality of the checking and counting process releases time spent on non-conformity reporting and speeds up conclusive actions. Fewer training days will be required for staff to learn how to operate the user-friendly Spa Track equipment. However, more importantly the accuracy of the counting will be improved significantly reducing costly mistakes.
Difficulties Managing Inventory Surgical instrument inventory shrinkage (lost instruments) is an issue for most hospitals, conservatively estimated at 3% per annum in the UK. In fact, many hospitals do not have a handle on how many surgical instruments they own, they struggle to see accurate records on where their instruments are and few have a reliable system for linking individual instruments to patient records. Robust Inventory Control Spa Track will offer a complete surgical instrument inventory management system covering the entire instrument hospital cycle. This will enable management to predict accurate cycle times for processing and allow fast tracking of urgent trays with greater certainty. The system will deliver better management control and better use of inventory with streamlined information for all stakeholders.

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