The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a contract worth about $543 million to Hewlett-Packard to deploy a wireless system to track medical equipment at VA health care facilities, Bloomberg reports (Miller, Bloomberg, 6/8).
Details of the VA System
For the new system, VA estimates that each of its 152 medical centers will need about 80,000 real-time location system tags and each of its seven mail-order pharmacies will need about 3,000 RTLS tags.
The system will use the hospitals' Wi-Fi networks to track equipment and supplies with the RTLS tags. The system also could incorporate ultrasound or infrared technology to pinpoint the equipment to a specific location, such as on a shelf or in a cabinet.
Although the system primarily will be used to manage inventory, VA officials said the department also could use the RTLS technology to:
- Ensure that medical equipment is sterilized before it is reused;
- Monitor refrigerator storage of pharmaceuticals, tissues, organs and other items (Brewin, NextGov, 6/11);
- Identify patients who have received medical devices that later were recalled by FDA; and
- Embed tracking tags in patient ID bracelets and staff badges to monitor patient and worker movements (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 6/11).
Navy Aims To Deploy RTLS System
In related news, the Navy is seeking vendors to implement a wireless tracking system for medical equipment, NextGov reports.
Last week, the Navy Bureau of Medicine released a procurement order to acquire RTLS technology that could track 300,000 pieces of medical equipment at 19 hospitals and hundreds of clinics around the world.
Navy officials said the system should be able to track various tools -- such as vital-sign monitors, infusion pumps and patient oxygen systems -- within a 10-foot radius (Brewin, NextGov, 6/7).