As recalls increase, hospitals should embrace medical device tracking

As recalls increase, hospitals should embrace medical device tracking

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As hospitals across the country look for ways to become more efficient with the use of technology, a significant area of need is the digitization of medical device tracking – an issue that currently costs the system as a whole some $5 billion a year.

To address this, the FDA is mandating a unique device identification by 2020, with the initiative having begun in September. It’s essentially a bar code that can be scanned, tracked, and more easily recalled if need be while keeping the patient informed and up to date on what’s been implanted in their bodies.

Champion Medical Technologies outlined the issue recently, calling attention to the antiquated, costly and often dangerous process used for tracking certain devices implanted in patients, particularly in the case of a product recall.

“Product recall is expensive,” said Peter Casaday, CEO and president of Chicago-based Champion. “It takes months, and during those months, patient safety is at risk. This has become a major issue for hospitals.”

Currently, 99 percent of all product recall are handled manually, Casady said, meaning a hospital employee has to physically type down a a number into a system. That often leads to human error and a prolonged search process more prone to oversights and lost devices.

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