Michigan Podiatry Clinic Utilizes RFID Technology to Track Surgical Tools Post Surgery & Improve Team Productivity

Source: RFID Journal

Great Lakes Foot and Ankle Specialists (GLFAS) is a Traverse City-based podiatry clinic staffed by two specialists, Dr. Jeffrey Szcepanksi and Dr. Kevin Bryant, along with a nurse, and three office staff members.

Local Problem Identified
GLFAS manually prepared multiple surgical instruments & supplies trays for the common surgeries performed at their offices.  This manual process made it difficult to efficiently track surgical instruments & supplies before, during, and post-operation.  Due to visual similarities of various podiatric instruments, staff had to double and triple check they were adding the correct instruments to the correct trays as they prepared them for future use.   In addition, it was difficult to differentiate between one surgery’s equipment trays vs. another due to the sterilized wrapping covering completed trays.  When the team grabbed the wrong tray for a surgery, the correct tray had to be obtained and the incorrect tray had to be re-sterilized and re-wrapped.     

Solution Enacted
GLFAS automated its surgical instrument tracking workflow through the use of a radio frequency identification system, consisting of passive, ultra high-frequency (UHF) tags, handheld readers and tracking software which linked each UHF tags ID number with an instrument’s photo, part number, manufacturer, and history.

GLFAS has gained operational efficiencies within its surgical process, made it more difficult to lose track of relatively small but expensive specialty equipment.  They have been able to monitor when a tool is being used, sterilized, or sent for repair.

Facility State/Region: MI
Facility Country: United States
Award: N/A 
Sub Classifications: Savings-Increased Operational Savings
Facility Type: Small specialty physician practice (nine or less physicians)
Citation: Swedberg, C. (2016).  Podiatry clinic steps into RFID tool tracking.  RFID Journal.   Accessed July 26, 2017.