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RFID solution enables safer usage of endoscopes

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is improving patient safety and overall asset accountability with a new RFID solution designed to prevent the spread of infection through flexible endoscopes. In addition, the system tracks and timestamps an endoscope’s movements from storage and usage to re-processing and back into storage.

The iRIScope, manufactured by Mobile Aspects, uses RFID to track the inspection process for endoscopes.

The iRIScope is manufactured by Mobile Aspects, which received a patent for its technology this month. Since Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania installed the solution, hospital personnel have witnessed overall improvements in accountability for correlating scope to patient usage, high level disinfection process, and tracking the efficacy of automatic endoscope re-processor chemicals. Most recently, the hospital began utilizing iRIScope to record when a scope was last re-processed.

“We have been able to streamline 300-plus endoscopes through iRIScope asset management, and the equipment overall is a valued component of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s patient safety initiatives,” says Claude Robert Gibson Jr., instrument processing manager at Penn’s Perelman SurgiCentre and Endoscopy Center.

Flexible endoscope re-processing has been cited the last four years in the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list published by the ECRI Institute. iRIScope prevents and identifies cross-contamination to reduce the risk for proliferation and transmission of infectious diseases. If a protocol compliance breach occurs, an unused scope needs to be re-processed, or a scope has been missing for 24 hours, alerts go off. With the Red Alert feature, the cabinet that houses the breached scope turns red, locks, and sends an alert to designated personnel.

“Flexible endoscope re-processing has become a prominent patient safety concern,” says Suneil Mandava, president and CEO of Mobile Aspects. “Therefore, we developed iRIScope to prevent the spread of infections, standardize protocols, and provide reliable electronic documentation.”

With the solution, washable RFID tags are attached to endoscopes and hung in the iRIScope cabinet. A user scans an ID badge and the patient barcode to open unlocked doors and remove a scope. RFID readers in the cabinet identify which scope was removed, while the software timestamps and electronically documents the scope’s removal, along with which procedure it is being used for and who took it.

When a procedure is completed, the scope needs to be meticulously cleaned and re-processed. The software timestamps and electronically documents each movement associated with the reprocessing. Once the entire re-processing stage is finished, the scope’s usage cycle is complete and is again hung to dry in the iRIScope cabinet.

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