RFID Surgical Instrument Tracking to Save up to $155K per Operating Room
About the Customer
The Customer is a young North American university-based company providing surgical instrument tracking services. Its mission is to optimize the surgical experience for hospitals, operating room teams, and patients.
Need for Surgical Tray Optimization
The Customer's research on instrument usage in operating rooms showed that 78–87% of surgical tools go unused. Such inefficiency results in unnecessary costs associated with instrument sterilization, delayed surgeries due to supply mismanagement, and greater instrument wear.
To help hospitals optimize surgical tray management, the Customer embarked on creating RFID-based software for instrument tracking and analyzing the tool usage data. However, the Customer’s key Golang and DevOps staff left the project, so the company was looking for a reliable IT outsourcing vendor to fill the talent gap.
An Innovative RFID-Based Instrument Tracking Solution
The delivered solution consists of the hardware (RFID readers and autoclavable RFID tags pre-attached to surgical instruments) and the software part. During surgery, tagged instruments pass within the range of RFID readers, strategically placed around the operating room to capture the data wirelessly transmitted by the tags. The captured data is analyzed and compiled into a list of used instruments.
The Customer needed assistance with the software part of the solution. Our talents played a pivotal role in its development and testing, working closely with the Customer's internal team.
To deliver high-quality software quickly, ScienceSoft’s specialists introduced a DevOps approach, which fostered smooth collaboration among the development, operations, and quality assurance teams, and configured the CI/CD pipeline.
Our experts used Golang for development. The language was chosen for its fast compilation process, concurrent programming support, robust standard library, and comprehensive toolset.
Our team conducted extensive testing of the solution, which consisted of two parts:
- Software testing to verify its data processing algorithms, real-time reporting capabilities, and other functionality.
- Field testing of the entire system to evaluate its performance in real-time surgical simulations and assess its accuracy, speed of data processing and transmission, and capacity to handle high volumes of data. The field testing was crucial to see the solution’s behavior in real-world scenarios.
Both testing stages confirmed that the solution met the required specifications and delivered outstanding results, ensuring precise and dependable data capture during surgeries.
50% Fewer Tools on a Tray and $7M of Potential Annual Savings
The collaborative effort resulted in the development of an automatic and 100% data-driven system that revolutionized surgical instrument management. This innovative RFID-based solution enables real-time tool tracking, which further drives surgical tray optimization and significant cost savings for hospitals.
The effectiveness of the delivered solution was validated by its successful integration into the university clinic environment. The pilot studies conducted by the Customer showed impressive outcomes:
- The solution helped reduce the number of instruments on a tray by 50% on average, with none of the eliminated instruments being requested by surgeons during subsequent operations.
- The elimination of unused tools led to substantial annual savings of $155,000 per operating room (based on two daily cases with 300 instruments supplied). When extrapolated to larger institutions with over 30,000 annual surgeries, the estimated annual savings reached $7 million.
- The solution helped reduce the tray weight by 33% and speed up the operating room setup by 25%.
The developed RFID-based solution not only delivered immediate benefits but also identified significant opportunities for supply optimization in specific surgical fields. Neurosurgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, and urology were among the areas where it recognized possibilities for enhancing supply efficiency.
Currently, the team is rolling out the solution to the entire university hospital system.
Technologies and Tools