Mr. John Cotter, Director of Finance, St. James’s, said that before the introduction of Scan for Surgery, there were a lot of problems with products not being available mid case or before the case was started. This had now been taken out of the equation.
He said essentially Scan for Surgery was an electronic messaging system and it reduced the time senior nursing staff spent restocking from about ten hours to one hour per theatre per week.
“A considerable amount of work went into developing the system. We spent nearly a year capturing raw data, it involved a massive manual process.
“We have had a significant cost benefit. Previously, we did not know how much product we held as stock outside our theatres.
“We did a stock taking once a year, but that did not provide us with real time information. When we implemented the stock management system, we found that we had €840,000 worth of products outside just two theatres. If you extrapolate that across all the theatres in all the hospitals in the country you can see what a significant amount of product could be held in the supply chain, just outside theatres. With such a large volume of stock on hand, there is a real risk that some of the products could go outside their expiry date and end up wasted.
“Following implementation of the system, we initially reduced our inventory by €100,000 We could do this, because now we could see how much we were holding and how fast the stock was being used. With this information available, we could safely reduce the amount of stock we held, while still providing an efficient service. We also saw a significant reduction in the average cost of products used per patient. Staff could now clearly see the cost of each item. Previously, some people might assume some products were cheap, but they could be €250 and when staff realised this, they began to open products only when they were definitely required.. So we are making more informed decisions.
“We also have really good information for patient costing from the system. We can clearly see the cost of different procedures and over time can look at improving cost efficiencies.
With the project, we have now scanned over €2.7m worth of products and can directly link this expenditure to individual patients. This will continue to grow and become a valuable data set over time.
Importantly, from a safety point of view, we can click on any single product used in theatre and see the patients who came into contact with that product. This gives us really good traceability for patient safety, particularly in the event where a product is recalled.