Linen management might not be a trend in the healthcare industry (just yet).
People might not care about it. Why?
Because it is small? Because it is not urgent? Because they don’t deal with it directly?
However, people in the linen department have been struggling to manage linen.
They count by hand if they have to.
They separate each type of linen by hand if they have to.
They lose linen with or without realization every day because they can’t control it properly.
They spend a lot of their physical energy taking care of linen.
Linen staff may start to wonder about what could be ways to help them be less exhausted? What could be ways to help lessen their labor work?
Then the linen manager may also be curious about the amount of linen purchased that seems to increase every year. She may also notice the existing linen that seems to be smaller in terms of number. How could she explain this situation? How could she be able to know exactly what happens? How could she help her colleagues to work more peacefully?
The IT team may be her lifesaver since today, it just seems like technology could just fix anything.
What could be offered? 🤗
Should we try Barcodes first?
It just seems to work easily. Just scan and then the system will show the number and at the end, the total of linen as you wish to know.
Wait. Things are not that smooth with Barcodes and linen management.
We know that Barcodes work by scanning the red light laser to the black and white tag. With this reflecting light, the machine can read and transmit the data to the specific numbers of the specific items.
Hmm still, this needs a lot of labor work and time. What could be its limitations?
Imagine you have to scan linen one by one because Barcodes cannot detect the black and white tag from a very far distance. Most importantly, it can scan linen only one piece at a time.
Well, Barcodes are simply not a perfect solution for linen management.
Then, what could be the right technology for it?
RFID is the answer 😎
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is wireless and uses radio waves to transmit data. This radio signal enables objects to be trackable, identifiable, and locatable.
By doing so, we need an RFID tag attached to an object. And when we scan the object with an RFID reader, the RFID tag which has an antenna and RFID chip (ID or information storage) will transfer this data through radio waves.
What are its advantages? 🤩
|Scanning Length||passive RFID: 40 ft with a fixed reader and 20 ft with handheld.|
|Identification Ability||able to identify each tag uniquely and individually|
|Reading Ability||read multiple tags simultaneously and quickly|
|Accuracy||able to know the information of the asset correctly and count with high accuracy|
|Automation and Independence||can work automatically with a fixed reader and with less human control|
|Human Errors Reduction||the RFID tag has each asset’s specific information and counting will be more accurate|
|Human Labor Reduction||less human supervision and quick and accurate scanning without consuming a lot of labor work|
Firstly, RFID can work and scan from a far distance 💪
Compared to Barcodes which when scanning, Barcodes scanner needs to be close to the Barcodes tag while passive RFID, in theory, can scan up to 40 ft for a fixed reader and up to 20 ft for a handheld. This will make the scanning more remotely, flexibly, and easily.
Secondly, RFID has a stronger identification ability than Barcodes 💪
While Barcodes need line of sight (the requirement to ‘see’ the tag in order to read), RFID doesn’t. RFID works through radio waves, so it has a wider scanning capacity. Moreover, RFID can read multiple tags at the same time. No doubt. RFID allows scanning faster and more effectively.
Moreover, RFID is able to identify items individually and uniquely with high accuracy 💪
Because an RFID tag has its specific ID or information storage within the tag, it allows us to know particular information for each item. However, Barcodes can identify the kind of items but not detailed information. And when it comes to counting items and since every asset is attached with RFID tags, the counting by RFID will be more accurate within one or two scannings.
RFID can not only read but also write 💪
We are able to put the information to create the unique identification of an asset to the RFID tag and also able to rewrite as we wish. This is the limitation of Barcodes since they can only be read.
Lastly, RFID does not require a lot of human work and reduces human errors 💪
Because RFID can scan without having to directly see the tags, users can wave a handheld over multiple assets simultaneously to scan. This, of course, reduces time and labor. Moreover, RFID can work, most of the time, independently when it is a fixed reader. For example, an RFID chamber that has a fixed RFID reader inside can scan a bunch of items at one time without a human waving the RFID handheld and human supervision. Most importantly, because of its unique tag that possesses particular data for each item, human error will decrease.
In conclusion, RFID is the answer to linen management at your hospital. Now each linen can be counted accurately by the radio wave. The information of your linen; the number, the types, the locations of linen will be more precise. The management will be more systematic and automatic. The staff will be less tired. The amount of investment spent will be more reasonable and worthwhile.
And if you think RFID is cool and may imagine how effective your linen management will be after using the solution, Mutrack is proud to present you ourthat surely brings revolution to how you manage and operate linen in your hospital. Save cost. Reduce waste. Boost effectiveness.
If you have any questions about your linen management or you are still not so sure about your linen problems or how they will be fixed. Simply let us know, we, Mutrack, are here to help!