Integration of Customized Wheelchair Tracking and Durable Medical Equipment's Solutions for Hospitals: A Continuous Quality Improvement Project

Anuoluwapo Owolabi *

University of Maryland, College Park, USA.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Aim: The purpose of the project is to design a model that will reduce the number of missing wheelchairs in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center; this will be achieved by designing a process to improve the tracking of wheelchairs at the clinical center.

Study Design: Qualitative.

Place and Duration of Study: National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center between 2017 and 2018.

Methodology: A process flow diagram was designed to study the current process and identify areas of opportunities. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted with diverse staff, including nurses and patient escorts, to identify system inefficiencies and barriers. Stakeholders were chosen for their roles and experience, enriching the root cause analysis. A fishbone diagram was constructed to ascertain the flow and direction of the problem being investigated.

Results: The study found that investing in Stryker TC wheelchairs significantly reduced the rate of missing wheelchairs at the NIH Clinical Center from 50% to 20% monthly. This resulted in substantial operational cost savings. The hospital saved approximately $200,000 annually in 2017 alone by reducing the need to replace missing wheelchairs, which cost $5,000 per unit. It was a good management decision to invest in Stryker TC wheelchairs that reduced the rate of missing wheelchairs from an average of 50% to an average of 20% monthly.

Conclusion: The study shows that investing in Stryker TC wheelchairs significantly reduced missing wheelchairs from 50% to 20% monthly. This led to $200,000 in annual savings by decreasing the need for replacements. Although the initial cost is high, the long-term savings justify the investment. The findings suggest that healthcare administrators should consider similar investments to enhance care delivery and operational excellence. This research highlights the effectiveness of innovative solutions in addressing logistical challenges in healthcare settings, facilitating more efficient patient care industry-wide.

Keywords: Wheelchairs, missing, tracking, durable medical equipment


How to Cite

Owolabi, Anuoluwapo. 2024. “Integration of Customized Wheelchair Tracking and Durable Medical Equipment’s Solutions for Hospitals: A Continuous Quality Improvement Project”. Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology 43 (6):91-100. https://doi.org/10.9734/cjast/2024/v43i64389.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Zhan C, Miller MR. Excess length of stay, charges, and mortality attributable to medical injuries during hospitalization. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013;290(14):1868- 1874.

Owens J, Davis DD. Seating and wheelchair evaluation. In Stat Pearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: Stat Pearls Publishing; 2023. Available:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559231/

Z&Z Medical. (n.d.). Put an end to wheelchair theft. Available:https://www.zzmedical.com/blog/put-an-end-to-wheelchair-theft/

Navigine. (n.d.). Tracking wheelchairs in hospitals. Available:https://navigine.com/blog/tracking-wheelchairs-in-hospitals/

Kontakt.io. (n.d.). Wheelchair tracking in hospitals with BLE location services.

Available:https://kontakt.io/blog/wheelchair-tracking-hospitals-ble-location-services/

The Strait Times. (n.d.). Hospitals deploy Internet of Things systems to track wheelchairs, patient location. Available:https://www.straitstimes.com/tech/tech-news/hospitals-deploy-internet-of-things-systems-to-track-wheelchairs-patient-location

Thompson D, Furness A. RFID implementation and benefits in hospitals. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy. 2015;22(1):36-39.

Sun PR, Wang BH, Wu F. A new method to guard inpatient medication safety by the implementation of RFID. Journal of Medical Systems. 2008;32(3):327–332.

Available:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-008-9137-9

CXJ RFID Factory. (n.d.). What is RFID technology. Available:https://www.cxjrfidfactory.com/what-is-rfid-technology/

Yao W, Chu CH, Li Z. The adoption and implementation of RFID technologies in healthcare: A literature review. Journal of Medical Systems. 2012;36(10):3507–3525 Available:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-011-9789-8

Khosla R, Chowdhury B. Real-time RFID-based intelligent healthcare diagnosis system. In D. Zhang (Ed.), Medical Biometrics. ICMB 2008. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 4901. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg; 2008 Available:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-77413-6_24

NIH Clinical Center. (n.d.). There's no other hospital like it. Available:https://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/ccc/crc/

NIH Clinical Center. (n.d.). Facts at a glance. Available:https://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/about/welcome/fact.html

Taylor MJ, Mc Nicholas C, Nicolay C, Darzi A, Bell D, Reed JE. Systematic review of the application of the plan-do-study-act method to improve quality in healthcare. BMJ Quality and Safety. 2014;23(4):290-298.

Available:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2013-001862

Ogunleye OO, Vargas M. Applying the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to a large pragmatic study involving safety net clinics. BMC Health Services Research. 2014;14:411 Available:https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-14-411

Andersen B, Fagerhaug T, Beltz M. Root cause analysis and improvement in the healthcare sector: A step-by-step guide. ASQ Quality Press; 2010.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). How to use the fishbone tool for root cause analysis. Available:https://www.cms.gov/medicare/provider-enrollment-and-certification/qapi/downloads/fishbonerevised.pdf

Reed JE, Card AJ. The problem with Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. BMJ Quality and Safety. 2016;25(3):147-152. Available:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004786