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The Barcode Warehouse awarded spearhead RFID real-time locating solution project for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Barcode Warehouse, a leading UK-based B2B technology and RFID specialist solution provider has been appointed to deliver an asset management solution utilising real-time locating system (RTLS) technology for Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) NHS Trust.

Working with healthcare orchestration platform TAGNOS, The Barcode Warehouse has created the bespoke solution utilising Zebra fixed RFID readers, which are being installed across three sites at Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infirmary, making this the largest installation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) within the NHS to date.

HUTH expect to track around 72,000 assets and all their sterile trays and instruments which number almost 15,000. There are many assets being included such as syringe drivers, weighing scales, thermometers, bladder scanners, pacing boxes, drip stands, beds, mobility aids and sterile trays are to be tracked across the site, so regardless of where they are used and taken with a patient, they can always be found and returned to the department or team that owns them.

The Trust is a large hospital and has a dedicated cancer centre, cardiac centre, vascular centre, major trauma centre and is a University Teaching Hospital and partner in the Hull York Medical School. In 2020-2021 over 165,000 people attended The Emergency Department at Hull Royal Infirmary, there were 700,000 attendances to outpatient clinics and 109,000 patients were admitted to wards (11,000 patients attended their wards for planned reviews following their treatment).

The asset management solution is part of the Scan4Safety initiative originally sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that is enabling the delivery of better patient care, improved clinical productivity and supply chain efficiency in the NHS. Scan4Safety is being rolled out within HUTH using a ‘patient pathway’ approach versus the typical implementations of theatres and surgical areas, thus including all patient areas, giving clearer insight into the patient care received.

The project is set to improve real-time visibility of critical medical devices and other assets – providing a simple, easy-to-use system for all stakeholders to utilise. The solution makes it possible to check the location and status of assets quickly and efficiently across the entire estate for an optimal patient care journey.

Working with its partners, as a Zebra Technologies Premier Solution Partner, The Barcode Warehouse has provided consultative support to HUTH, leaning on its expertise in data capture technology and its knowledge of the healthcare industry, which has proved vital in delivering the tailormade solution.

Explaining the process adopted to create the solution Miles Warriner, Enterprise Solutions Director at The Barcode Warehouse comments “The Barcode Warehouse is ideally placed to partner with progressive NHS Trusts such as HUTH to provide the seamless scoping, design and delivery of tailored real-time location solutions to enable complete medical device traceability. Our experience and capability to identify and then gel all components of the solution together under one coordinated project means swifter benefits realisation for the Trust, leaving them to concentrate on optimising safe and reliable patient care.”

Rachael Ellis, Scan4Safety Programme Director at Hull University Teaching Hospitals, commented “The Barcode Warehouse helped us to design a bespoke RFID asset tracking solution to fit across a legacy of different estate buildings. They helped us to consider all elements of the functional design using their expertise to ensure that the outcome we expected is the outcome that we get.”

In line with their trust innovation strategy and thanks to the initial success, HUTH together with the team at The Barcode Warehouse, will continue to develop the use of the system, as well as the overall feature set, to further support the delivery of efficient patient care along the pathway.

As NHS trusts throughout the country learn the importance of implementing technology in line with the Scan4Safety initiative for patient safety, The Barcode Warehouse plans to deliver more solutions of the kind. The next implementation is scheduled for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after being selected for a proof-of-concept trial during a Barcode Warehouse competition at the GS1 Healthcare Conference 2022.

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