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Tracking mechanical hearts

Medical Institute Cardiology -

Company: Providence Health and Services

Headquarters: Renton, Washington

Industry: Healthcare and Medicine

When the Sacred Heart Medical Center was founded in 1886, it was a small, 31-bed facility built along the Spokane River in Washington. It has since evolved to become a major regional medical center with some of the best doctors, specialists and staff from all around the world.

"I use Orca Scan to track a million dollar inventory."
Dr David Sato Mechanical Heart Engineer and Cardiologist, Providence

One of them is Dr David Sato, a Senior Cardiologist responsible for a team of engineers at the Medical Institute Cardiology in Washington. David's team is responsible for cardiovascular implants such as the Ventricular Assist Device which are, quite literally, saving peoples lives.

We had the privilege of talking to David about how they meet the needs of their patients by tracking their inventory of mechanical hearts and other medical devices.

paper work

Traceability is key

David explained, its very important they monitor their inventory levels to ensure they always have sufficient medical devices on hand when their patients need them.

Maintaining audit trails from receiving the implants into stock, to eventually assigning them to a patient in the operating theatre, is of equal importance; "We use Orca Scan to record which devices have been assigned to which patient".

How it used to work

To accomplish this for the dozens of devices received daily, they:

The costs of the manual process

Combining paper forms, spreadsheets and custom software development were painful. It required lots of manual checks to reduce the potential error rate from manually entering serial numbers, and would consume around 5 hours per week.

"We had all types of typo errors, and the inventory was inaccurate half the time because we didn't have time to sit down and manually update it."
Dr David Sato Mechanical Heart Engineer and Cardiologist, Providence

Time for a change

Example configuration of Orca Scan by Dr David Sato

The unreliability of the process and the time it consumed, made it clear to David that he needed to find a more efficient solution - so he started on the App Stores.

"I tried several apps, but Orca Scan was the most reliable at reading all types of barcodes. The way it handles the data and automatically uploads was great."

How it works now

David and his team now use Orca Scan to track their inventory. Their new process looks like this:

"It would take 5 hours a week to do this process manually - it's down to 30 minutes."
Dr David Sato Mechanical Heart Engineer and Cardiologist, Providence