National Tracking System: A Safer Solution

Lowering costs and increasing instrument availability through the use of GS1 Standards

Spectrum CopiesThe HSE has implemented a national tracking system for re-usable medical instrument sets (trays) and/or endoscopes in 29 hospitals to date and this solution is currently being rolled out to the remaining Irish hospitals. It is the only known national solution of its kind. Instrument sets contain all the instruments required for a specific surgical procedure. Sharing re-usable instrument sets and endoscopes between hospitals has cost-saving and availability benefits. However, when an instrument set or endoscope is loaned to another hospital, the information relating to the history of the set or endoscope is often not readily available and the set or scope needs to be registered again. Additionally, flexible and rigid endoscopes are fundamentally difficult to clean, disinfect and sterilise - a history of which it is vital to record.

 These processes are traditionally very labour-intensive and paper-based. For these reasons, it is essential that full traceability using barcodes and scanning is put in place to track-and-trace instrument sets and endoscopes throughout the decontamination process.

This article featured in the Autumn 2015 (2) edition of Spectrum.

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