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.
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:
- Write down the serial numbers on paper forms at arrival
- Manually enter them into a spreadsheet at the end of each day
- Run a custom-written software program to retrieve product information for each device
- Manually update each item in the spreadsheet as it is assigned to a patient
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."
Time for a change
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 it was all very reliable.“
How it works now
David and his team now use Orca Scan to track their inventory. Their new process looks like this:
- Scan the barcode on each device as they are received
- Add the quantity
- (Date and time assigned automatically)
- Scan the item and assign the patient ID before implant
- And upload to master inventory sheet
“It would take 5 hours a week to do this process manually
- it's down to 30 minutes.”