The main issue with medical care is that it is focused primarily on saving lives and treating patients, while process efficiency and supplies utilization are in the background. This is due to leaning on the safe side and not taking even slight risks when in doubt of the properties of a particular asset. For example, the packaging of a particular medicine as a rule is different from the applied dosages, hence when unpacked or extracted most medical products will serve several dosages, provided the medical staff is certain of their properties, such as time of opening, active ingredients contents, etc. In case of the slightest doubt, the remainder gets discarded. The statistics of medicine wastage in hospitals reaches 10%, as per the Gilmore review “Medicines wastage: how big is the problem?” or research by the UK National Audit Office. While others claim that half of those losses are technically unavoidable or that the real figures are significantly lower, internal audits in some hospitals have shown that the emergency and surgery wards stand out with much higher figures which in particular cases may reach a staggering 70% in critical interventions. This has at least a twofold implication – perfectly good supplies that have been produced, delivered and paid for go to waste and on top, medical refuse goes through additional treatment before final disposal, which adds up to the total cost. Such inefficiency puts a huge strain on the economies and environment, since the medical industry is neither cheap nor environment friendly.
By addressing the above issues through supplies planning and management, especially when coupled with UID systems, even a moderate reduction in wastage will have a significant impact. The ultimate long term goal of integrating our platform with various other hospital and healthcare systems is to make wastage an exception instead of the norm it currently is.
By keeping a strict inventory, traceability and planning of equipment and medications, we address one of the issues that together with wastage adds to the overall high healthcare costs – oversupplying. Both these factors help reduce the medical costs with great benefits for the healthcare budgets and dedicated private or public funds.
Our platform will additionally add value to hospital RFID systems, thus helping their business case, since their implementation requires significant investments and poses a challenge for finding the ROI. By helping the wider introduction of RFID technologies, we bring a secondary impact, as when properly implemented, these systems lead to a great reduction in human errors, leading to a significant decrease in incidents, fatalities and other serious consequences, which put a heavy toll on the medical workforce and society as a whole.
The reduction in paperwork related issues will imminently allow the medical staff to tend more to patient care, thus increasing for example operating room capacity or better recovery, thus shortening patient waiting times for elected surgery, which in many cases throughout the EU is becoming unacceptable and forces patients to seek medical services in private hospitals, where the medical bills are covered mostly by themselves, thus undermining the state healthcare programs.
On a wider scale, the more digital systems are introduced to healthcare a snowball effect is probable, ushering the age of smart hospitals in line with the developments in other social and economic sectors.
Choosing a Cloud based solution that builds on top of various open or community tools, enablers and data will help depart from the closed proprietary systems of the past and help establish the new paradigm of developing interrelated and interconnected modules and solutions.