Omnicell Marketing Executive outlines new RFID medical-surgical supply chain management technology

Anaheim 05 April 2005Radio frequency identification (RFID) has the potential to become a powerful medical-surgical supply chain management tool, Ken Perez, vice president of marketing for Omnicell Inc., told executives at the Supply-Chain World - North America 2005 Conference.


Ken Perez last year unveiled a prototype of advanced RFID-enabled cabinets for managing medical-surgical supplies. Users gain access to the Omnicell system with a personal password and then simply remove items from the cabinet. Usage information is captured automatically and made instantly available to the hospital materials management team.

"In the health care market, much attention has been given to the possible use of RFID for securing and automating the pharmaceutical supply chain", Ken Perez stated. "Yet the application of RFID could also provide significant advantages for the management of the medical-surgical supply chain. When you consider that the supply budget of a hospital is 25 to 30 percent of the total operating budget, the potential cost reductions through RFID automation are tremendous."

Ken Perez discussed the potential advantages of RFID, including easier, faster dispensing of supplies, fully automated and accurate tracking, theft deterrence, increased charge capture for patient billing, faster and more accurate restocking, and elimination of periodic physical inventories.

"Current market adoption of RFID for medical-surgical supply chain management is at a very early stage, though we expect to see areas of the hospital with high-value items adopt RFID solutions in the next two to three years", Ken Perez concluded.

Established in 1992, Omnicell is a provider of patient safety solutions preferred by nurses. Improving patient care by enhancing operational efficiency, Omnicell solutions are used throughout the health care facility: in the pharmacy, nursing units, surgical services, cath lab, and all the way to the patient's bedside. The company's MedGuard line of solutions for the medication-use process includes systems for physician order management, automated pharmacy retrieval, medication packaging, medication dispensing, and nursing work flow automation with bar code medication administration.

For the medical-surgical supply chain, Omnicell's OptiFlex product line provides open bar code systems, cabinet-based supply management, integrated open and cabinet-based systems, and Web-based procurement. More than 1500 health care facilities use Omnicell solutions to help reduce medication errors, operate more efficiently, and decrease costs, ultimately contributing to improved clinical and financial outcomes.

Leslie Versweyveld

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