Healthcare professionals have been discussing the potential benefits that RFID can bring to their hospitals. However, few have been able to see the clear return on investment that RFID can provide.
Let us examine the business case for deploying an RFID system within a hospital. Case studies on RFID patient tracking done over the last decade in healthcare organisations in Singapore and the region have shown that the main ROI of RFID deployment in healthcare comes from the automation of patient temperature monitoring, as well as patient flow optimisation based on their real-time location.
There is a strong case for automating temperature-taking for patient using the RFID ThermoSensor. The financial benefit is calculated through the immense time savings of the entire nursing team, from junior to senior staff, and the additional consumables costs of personal protective equipment for isolation staff.
For a 1,000 bedded hospital at 80% BOR, hospitals can enjoy potential savings of over 58,000 nursing hours per year. In addition, as vital signs data are now real-time and online, nursing team leaders who previously monitored the patients’ vital signs data, which was taken by junior staff, do not have to walk the wards to
check the manual charts anymore. This will save the hospital another 19,000 senior nursing hours a year. For isolation wards, nurses will save on the personal protective equipments (PPE) and the additional time needed to put on and take off PPE when they enter the isolation wards for regular vital signs taking.
From a business standpoint, using RFID for patient flow optimization will result in a higher patient throughput, which in turn will increase resource capacity. For example, improving the bed turnover process means there are more beds ready for new inpatients, thus reducing the bed waiting time at the emergency department. The emergency department will in turn be able to accommodate more patients, reducing the number of patients diverted to other hospitals, thereby increasing the revenue.
Other associated financial benefits include significant time savings, for example through fewer enquiries on patient movement and bed allocation status, in finding the right bed for patients and for staff locating patients or updating computer systems manually. These are some of the compelling reasons to deploy the SmartSense system, unlocking cost savings at day-to-day operations and achieving clear ROI on original investment in 1 to 2 years time.
RFID applications have shown strong financial business cases, with potential to further enhance hospitals’ compliance to JCI requirements and improve patient satisfaction, patient safety, increase staff morale as well as improving overall operational efficiency.