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Stryker turns to RFID to track medical implants in Europe

Orthopedic implant manufacturer Stryker is expanding its RFID program throughout its European supply chain. The company will introduce RFID at distribution centers in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy and the UK this year.

The move comes after a successful rollout in Australia, where the company deployed RFID several years ago and revolutionized the use of RFID for tracking medical implants and the medical implant kits that carry hundreds of parts needed during implant surgeries.

In many cases the medical implant parts included in kits are loaned to the hospital and returned to the manufacturer following the procedure. Prior to RFID, the inventory process was entirely manual, resulting in inaccurate item counts and billing. As a result, incomplete kits were often sent back to medical facilities for the next procedure.

With RFID, kits are scanned in seconds and billing is expedited. Hospitals also know exactly which parts they consumed.

The solution being deployed by Stryker is provided by SATO, a longtime provider of RFID solutions. SATO purchased Magellan Technology, the original founder of the PJM RFID solution, in December. Magellan invented the PJM solution, which stands for Phase Jitter Modulation, nearly 20 years ago.

Altrax Group, a systems integrator working with traceability solutions for the hospital sterilization field, will assist with the rollout in the UK.

Andrew Southcott, Director at the Altrax Group, expects Europe to have similar success rolling out the technology.

“There is really no other way of doing this and there is no doubt that what was achieved in Australia with PJM RFID for the orthopedic implant field will simply repeat itself in the UK and other countries across Europe,” he said.

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