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Innovative scan technology which saves £100,000 a year wins award

Published 09/12/2014

A revolutionary method of monitoring the cost of surgical operations, which could save Derby Hospitals over £100,000 a year, has won a national award.

Working with a software company, the Trust has produced a barcode scanner system which can track the medical equipment used, time taken and staff needed for each operation undertaken at the Royal Derby Hospital.

It is the first time it has been possible to collect this data for each individual patient procedure and has led to more efficiency in ordering stock, planning operation timetables and use of staff.

And since its introduction in March, the technology - developed by a team of consultants, finance, procurement and theatre staff - has saved the Trust at least £10,000 a month.

Now the development has been recognised at a national level, winning the Costing award at the 2014 Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) awards.

The technology to use a hand-held device to scan stock barcodes is available in many hospitals across the country.

But Derby is the first Trust to combine the system with the barcodes which appear on wristbands worn by patients during their hospital stay.

These barcodes identify the patient and allow the software – developed in collaboration with software firm hTrak - to create a record of each patient’s operation.

This record shows which staff were in theatre during the procedure, how long the operation took, precisely what equipment was used and how much it all cost.

The software then automatically re-orders the used equipment, according to preset stock limits. This has led to stock-taking procedure time being slashed from two days to half a day.

The scanner also flags up if any equipment is out of date, improving patient safety.

Keith Jones, Clinical Director of General Surgery for the Trust, said: “Utilising the scanners in theatres provides us with extra reassurance: we’re now able to capture an accurate patient-level record of exactly what equipment and instruments we have used, as well as real time recording of the procedures we have completed. This data can then be used to help improve the accuracy and depth of the patient record. This patient-level detail is a significant step forward for the Trust.”

Kevin Downs, Deputy Finance Director for Strategy and Projects, said: “The award is a real recognition for the work the whole team have done and that’s always satisfying. But it is the implications the technology will have for improving our surgical performance, our efficiency and our patient safety which is the most exciting aspect of this.”

Last Modified 10/12/2014