Medication errors pose significant risks to millions of patients every year, leading to substantial healthcare costs. According to the World Health Organization, the cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at USD 42 billion annually worldwide. In response to these challenges, healthcare organizations are turning to radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies to monitor and track medications within hospital settings. However, while traditional RFID automation has shown promise in addressing certain issues, it has also introduced new challenges. This blog explores the potential benefits of adopting manufacturer-enabled RFID solutions to overcome these obstacles and enhance medication management in hospitals.
The Unintended Consequences of Traditional RFID Automation
When hospitals initially implemented automated RFID programs, they were optimistic about time savings, error reduction, and improved medication tracking. While they successfully met these objectives, the new technology presented unforeseen challenges. Manual restocking processes sometimes led to coding errors as technicians entered data into the system, mistakenly inputting incorrect lot numbers or expiration dates. Additionally, the tags used for manual RFID tagging were prone to falling off, adhering to the wrong items, or even being removed by nurses, jeopardizing accurate medication tracking.
A Solution for Enhanced Medication Management: Manufacturer-Enabled RFID
Pharmacy departments have embraced manufacturer-enabled RFID solutions to address these inefficiencies and errors. With this approach, medication products arrive pre-tagged, and essential drug information is already encoded into the system, eliminating the risk of manual entry errors. Moreover, the tags used in manufacturer-enabled RFID are more secure, preventing intentional or unintentional removal and ensuring accurate tracking of medications. The benefits include:
Time Savings and Improving Patient Care: Adopting manufacturer-enabled RFID does not impose additional burdens on pharmacists or technicians. Instead, it saves valuable time savings, allowing the pharmacy team to prioritize and focus on providing high-quality patient care. This becomes especially vital during critical patient care moments where time sensitivity is crucial, leaving no room for errors.
Enhancing Accuracy and Availability: These capabilities are essential for ensuring that medications in various kits and trays remain accurate, readily available, and within their expiration dates. By automating manual processes with manufacturer-enabled RFID, hospitals can significantly reduce the risk of errors while simultaneously freeing up the pharmacy team to focus on more complex and vital tasks.
Integrating manufacturer-enabled RFID into hospital medication management offers significant advantages in reducing errors, streamlining processes, and improving patient care. Embracing this advanced technology helps healthcare organizations overcome the challenges posed by traditional RFID automation. By leveraging manufacturer-enabled RFID solutions, hospitals can enhance medication safety, optimize inventory management, and ensure timely access to critical medications for improved patient outcomes. The future of medication management lies in these innovative technologies that empower healthcare providers to deliver safer, more efficient, and patient-centric care.
Be part of our thriving community dedicated to advancing the healthcare industry through interoperable and high-performing RFID technology. We invite hospitals, RFID technology vendors, and RFID manufacturers to join us as we lead the way in unit-level medication identification. To join UnitVisID Alliance or for more information, please email Hello@UnitVisID.com.