The name says it all. Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs) may still be in their infancy, but the cost-cutting, time-saving and patient-focused tracking system at Mercy has caught the attention of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
In a new report, Pew explains how UDIs -- global tracking for implanted medical devices -- are revoloutionizing the industry, helping hospitals, doctors and patients quickly find medical devices that may have problems. Mercy recently launched a pilot project, using scannable bar codes to track cardiac stents.
“It’s going to be a powerful tool that will let hospitals manage their inventory better,” John Rising with Pew Charitable Trusts, says in the report. “It will let hospitals, doctors and the FDA assess the performance of devices that they couldn’t before. And it will let hospitals identify patients who may have a recalled device.”
With a UDI label, important information is readily available, such as product name, expiration date, reference and lot numbers, manufacturer information, bar code, details and an illustration of the item. Ultimately, a UDI helps improve patient safety, identify product problems more quickly and better target recalls. Through inventory management, UDIs can also bring significant cost savings, more time for patients and less time for paperwork.
“Just stop and think about it,” Dr. Joseph Drozda, director of outcomes research at Mercy, explains in the report. “When your car is recalled, they don’t have a hard time tracking you down. You get that notice in the mail. They know exactly where that car is. But right now, we don’t have a system like that for devices that are implanted in you. That’s sort of a scary thought.”