Hospitals operate with a huge quantum of expensive medical equipment and allied assets which need to be monitored and tracked. Asset tracking is an important aspect of any hospital’s functional financial accountability.
The asset tracking system provides the solution to obviate the manual method of data entry while handing over equipment to different personnel. The system therefore eliminates physical recording method that can entail misinformation and typographical errors.
What is Asset Tracking?
The cloud-based asset management system enables the storage of the entire asset information in a centralized database. This makes sure all departments and divisions of an organization are on the same page and access to information facilitates easy collaboration and inter-dependent office activity.
The system keeps the data secure and dynamic with the latest updates and backups. This gives the organization an operational edge in not losing any essential information at any given time.
The online asset tracking system allows taking host actions including:
- Generation of customized labels
- Automated procurement
- Check on assets for maintenance and repair
- Tracking of asset usage history
- Monitoring of work orders
- Inventory Management
- Asset Tracking
- Software Licenses and Vendor Contract Management
The main objective of an asset tracking system is to maximize asset efficiency and minimize operational loss.
Organizations need to implement asset tracking software in conjunction with asset management solutions. The automated tracking methods like fixed scanners, barcodes, asset tags help generate actionable information to manage and track the assets.
Why do Hospitals need to track their equipment and assets with an asset tracking system?
Hospitals have a lot of hi-tech and expensive equipment and assets like:
- Respiratory machines
- Patient monitors
- Mammography units
- Mobile X-ray units
- Blood bank refrigerators
- ECG monitors
- Ultrasound units
- Diagnostic equipment
- Examination tables and more.
Apart from these critical assets, hospitals also use large inventories of consumable items like:
- Oxygen Cylinders
- Sheets and covers
- Papers and envelopes for documents
- X-ray films and so forth.
Asset tracking enables tracking the supplies (medicines, bandages etc.) used up on a particular patient’s treatment and also identifies the clinician who drew up the items for the patient.
Moreover, you can also track the items straight from the manufacturer, which allows the defective items to be refunded by the distributor.
Moreover, any item that can be identified with numbers or letters can be tracked using asset tags like medical records and laboratory results.
Benefits of Asset Tracking in Hospitals
- Extended Life Cycle
Asset tracking provides regular updates for any asset or equipment for its functional maintenance. As a result, the life of the asset is effectively extended.
- Minimizing Asset/Equipment Loss
When the Operations management commands all the information about assets and equipments in the system, the chances of loss or theft can be considerably reduced.
- Precise Asset Information
Tracking the asset bribgs up crucial information on the the asset like its owner and its current state, where is it located, and much more. Such precise information greatly enhances the decision making process.
- Saving on Time and Money
If a machine is not working properly, it implies it requires maintenance. Machine maintenance demands time and costs money. As such, an unplanned maintenance can disrupt the operations and impact productivity.
Therefore, the organization needs to not only track the assets and equipment of the hospital but also analyze their performance in order to avoid unexpected downtime.
- Scheduled maintenance
The system will trigger alerts and notifications for planned asset maintenance. This does away with a lot of worry about maintenance activity, as its scheduling is managed by the system. There is no need to keep separate records manually as the asset management system does it all for the organization.
- Maximized Asset Efficiency
Proper maintenance of an asset not only enhances asset efficiency but also reduces risk of its sudden breakdown. Consequently, the life cycle of the asset as well as its functional efficiency get a major boost.
Different Asset Tracking Techniques that can be used in Hospitals
1. Barcode Asset Tracking
Barcodes have become the classic method of asset tracking. They enable regular updates while being attuned to the latest technological landscape. The biggest advantage of Barcodes is economic feasibility.
They are cheaper to use and are helpful in tracking small-sized and low-value items. Barcodes can be read by both handheld scanners as well as smartphone cameras. The codes are available in a variety of choices in shape, size, color, and material. The organization can select the type of barcode that suits its industry type.
2. RFID Asset Tracking
RFID is an acronym for “Radio Frequency Identification”. They are much more advanced than barcodes. In RFID technology, digital data are encoded in RFID tags or smart labels. These can then be captured by the reader or scanner through radio waves.
RFID has a wider capture region by radius for its operation. It can thus be used where assets are not easily accessible.
Being expensive to implement, RFID tracking system is not so suitable for small businesses.
3. GPS Asset Tracking
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to media as a geotagged photograph. This data includes latitude and longitude coordinates.
These tags are used to send location alerts to the server continuously so that the inventory can be tracked.
The modern tracking technology owes its advancement to signal transmission that allows enough signal strength reception from the GPS satellite system which can then be reported.
However, it is very expensive and so is recommended for only the big-sized corporations.
4. NFC Asset Tracking
NFC stands for Near-field communication. Also referred to as CLTS i.e. contactless, NFC technology tracks assets by tapping them and getting their details. Its cost is low and durability very high.
NFC Tags are faster, you just need to bring your phone close to one NFC Tag to record the monitoring. All controls are updated in real-time.
The entire information is stored in the Cloud. Enterprises can, therefore, export reports for their customers or for business intelligence at a fast pace.
5. IoT Asset Tracking
Internet of Things (IoT) portrays the network of physical objects referred to as “things”. These objects are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies.
The objective of such connectivity is to share and exchange information with different gadgets and systems over the internet protocol. IoT asset tracking devices can range from household objects to sophisticated industrial machines and tools.
An effective asset management software is important for efficient location monitoring, inventory checks, oversight of maintenance, asset condition, and depreciation for high-value and business-critical assets.
Asset management is critical for regulatory compliance and also ensuring a healthy bottom line. Though it is especially complex for mega organizations with multiple locations, facilities, field service personnel, asset management has become increasingly indispensable.