Tracking the locations of their McKinley T34 syringe drivers with Harland Simon’s RFID Discovery has enabled NHS Forth Valley to improve utilisation of these specialist pumps and avoid a capital cost of £50,000 to purchase additional devices.
When a recent proposal suggested they buy an additional 50 T34s at around £1,000 each to cope with demand, Bryan Hynd, Head of Medical Physics at NHS Forth Valley, decided instead to track all available devices with the active RFID Discovery system. According to purchasing records the hospital should own a total of 40 T34s, but at one point only 4 of them could be found. Locating pumps had been an on-going challenge, which often meant that devices were in short supply.
Since tagging the T34s, a total of 22 have been found. Bryan comments: “Tracking devices means that now they are shared better between departments and we find that 6 or 7 of them are always available at any one time.”
Sandra Campbell, Macmillan Nurse Consultant for Cancer & Palliative Care, who has been involved in the management of pumps at NHS Forth Valley since 2001, explains:
“We have tried all sorts of systems over the years, but nothing ever worked. Since we have started tracking the T34s in March, we have always had sufficient pumps on the shelf.”
Palliative care nurses used to spend a lot of time trying to locate the devices. Now they can access a simple on-line search screen and see how many of these pumps are in each of the areas.
T34s are very small syringe drivers, designed for administering palliative care medicines and can be placed under a mattress to be less intrusive. Sandra comments:
“Before implementing the tracking there were occasions when we’ve had to use larger infusion pumps, which goes against our ethos of de-medicalising end-of-life care.”
Tracking the pumps has also made it much easier to locate the devices for maintenance. Bryan Hynd explains: “Being a high risk device, it is essential that they are being serviced regularly as a pump that isn’t functioning correctly can lead to administering the wrong dose of the required drug, which can have fatal consequences.”