Implanet, a manufacturer of implantable medical devices, has selected IBM sensor technology as the foundation for BeepN'Track, a new service that traces the movement of Implanet's products - including knee and hip implants - across its supply chain to hospitals.
Spiraling medical costs and growing demand for medical care present the health care industry with unprecedented challenges. To meet the cost and quality expectations of the hospitals it serves, Implanet is infusing its operations with new intelligence to reduce the costs associated with human error, out-of-stock products, and supply chain inefficiencies while offering the best possible medical devices and supporting services.
By offering a line of products that are completely traceable, Implanet gives health care providers the peace of mind that comes with being able to easily identify patients whose implanted medical devices are the subject of a recall.
Prior to the creation of its new system, Implanet had no means of tracking its products once they left its manufacturing facilities. This meant the company's medical devices were difficult to trace once shipped.
The company's BeepN'Track service uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to track medical devices from Implanet to hospitals. Prior to shipping, Implanet affixes an RFID tag bearing a unique serial number to the packaging of each individual device. Before a surgical procedure takes place, a hospital uses a handheld device to scan the tag from the medical device being implanted and stores that information along with the patient's records. The tag is given to the patient after surgery so he or she will have all available information concerning the implant in the event of future concerns.
The information stored on the tags is gathered by IBM's WebSphere Sensor Events software and transmitted to IBM's InfoSphere Traceability Server software. This allows Implanet to manage and share information with the systems of any trading partners that adhere to GS1 EPCglobal's Electronic Product Code Information Services standard for capturing and sharing sensor data.
"We do not want to focus on our commodity product - the implant itself - but on a complete solution which makes the product smart and thus creates a new generation of medical solutions," said Erick Cloix, chief executive officer, Implanet. "With IBM's health care industry knowledge and its technology expertise, this initiative is opening up the whole international market to us."
IBM is creating a smarter, more connected healthcare system that delivers better care with fewer mistakes, predicts and prevents diseases, and empowers people to make better choices. This includes integrating data so doctors, patients and insurers can share information seamlessly and efficiently. IBM also helps clients apply advanced analytics to improve medical research, diagnosis and treatment in order to improve patient care and help reduce healthcare costs.