Viewpoint: Skytron, powered by Awarepoint RTLS Client Spotlight on Texoma Medical CenterGregg Stepp, Director of Supply Chain Operations at Texoma Medical Center will be presenting his hospital’s RTLS story at the upcoming RFID in Healthcare East conference being held October 12, 2010 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia. I spoke with Gregg recently to get a preview of what he’ll be presenting at RFID in Healthcare East:
BackgroundTexoma Medical Center deployed an enterprise-wide RTLS system from Skytron, powered by Awarepoint. The deployment covers this 235 bed acute care facility located about 70 miles from the Dallas metroplex. The enterprise encompasses an 8-story, 325,000 square foot tower which Texoma Medical Center moved into in late 2009.
Gregg is responsible for supply chain operations at Texoma Medical Center. Currently, his department has 16.5 full-time employees and services 5 departments: purchasing, central supply, warehouse, print shot and document services. As part of its duties, supply chain operations is responsible for managing moveable medical equipment, equipment par level replenishment, operating room (OR) materials management, capital asset management, supply order replacement, on-site equipment distribution, and management of both an off-site warehouse and off-site record storage. Knowing the location and status of equipment is key to the department’s ability to operate efficiently, and finding equipment is exacerbated by numerous hiding places and constant building additions and renovations.
What were the unique challenges that led Texoma Medical Center to an RTLS system?“Because of the difficulty in finding available equipment, there was a lack of confidence in the Materials Management team by Nursing staff. The reverse was true as well; the Materials Management team was experiencing a lack of trust with the Nursing department. We could never find equipment – but whose fault was it?”
You mentioned difficulty in finding equipment and a lack of trust between departments. Can you elaborate on other problems associated with finding equipment?“Sure, everyone’s goal here is the same – to have working equipment available when it’s needed for patient care. One particular area of contention was around Sequential Compression Devices, or SCDs. Texoma Medical Center was originally provided budget for 75 SCDs. In 2008, we were provided an additional 17, as not having equipment continued to be a perceived problem. Even with 92 on hand, we continued to have problems locating them. Many times we would only have 70 patients in the building, and still couldn’t find an available SCD.
Another issue – this equipment is rented, and if the units cannot be found to be returned to the rental company, the hospital has to “buy” the lost rental equipment. I recall an incident in 2008 where we had to buy an SCD machine to replace a rental that had been lost. Not only that, we paid $1,600 in rent before we knew it was lost! I’d have to say, that incident was really a big part of the tipping point in searching for a solution. Since RTLS, we literally have no more conversations about 'where are our SCD machines?'.”
In addition to SCD problems, did you have any other specific challenges that you were trying to address with RTLS?“There were also ongoing problems finding other high-demand equipment, for example, PCA pumps; feeding pumps and Wound V.A.Cs. Similar challenges to the SCD machines, and an ongoing lack of confidence between departments.”
Helping overworked staff is typically a value driver for RTLS. Was this an issue for Texoma Medical Center? Have you been able to show results in how the system has improved the work environment and efficiency for staff?“Yes, another big issue was the incredible staff workload demands and associated job satisfaction issues. In 2007, my department had 31 full-time employees. We are now down to 16.5 and have absolutely no extra staff to help do “Easter egg” hunts to find equipment. That doesn’t change our goal to be 100% responsive to clinical needs - to be able to provide the right equipment as soon as it is called for. A solution was needed that could eliminate this big time waster and dissatisfier. We have documented several key staff satisfaction and efficiency metrics after RTLS implementation. In the Materials Management department, we now spend 75% less time looking for equipment; 50% less time in preparing equipment, and we have a 100% SATISFACTION RATE WITH MATERIALS MANAGEMENT STAFF!
In addition, all employees, from Central Supply to Nursing, have 24-hr access to locate equipment before they actually need it, so that staff is not in reactive mode. Our facility satisfaction is off the charts: 73% feel good or very good about Asset Tracking; and 99% feel their workflow is improved with Asset Tracking.
Thanks Gregg! We can’t wait to see what promises to be an engaging presentation at RFID in Healthcare East.Remember, join us at RFID in Healthcare East in Philadelphia on October 12 to hear directly from Gregg when he’ll detail Texoma Medical Center’s RTLS value drivers, address the additional questions and challenges below, outline his ROI metrics and next steps, and will be available to take your direct questions:
• Discover how to pay for RTLS with limited capital funds
• Hear how Texoma Medical Center tracks and manages rental equipment from the point it enters the building until it is picked up
• Learn the dramatic reductions in time staff spent searching for patient care equipment, as well as increases in Biomedical equipment preventative maintenance
• Find out how Texoma Medical Center’s capital equipment needs are reduced with the ability to find equipment
• Find out what’s next for Texoma Medical Center and RTLS, including temperature monitoring applications and visiting vendor tracking.
Remember, the conference is October 12 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia, where you can hear Gregg Stepp, along with Allyn Whaley-Martin of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, among other prestigious healthcare presenters. We hope to see you there!