Lots to be seen at HSCN Conference 2018

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By Pippa Wysong

This year’s annual conference of the Healthcare Supply Chain Network (HSCN) was a hub of activity. While the conference programs were well attended, the exhibit hall was also a busy scene.  Here, we present some highlights of what Hospital News learned there.

First was a stunning display featuring a graphic artist from ThinkLink who casually chatted with attendees and then created graphic representations, on-the-spot, of how they responded to “How do you envision supply chain management in 10, 15, 20 years?” At the center of the piece, not surprisingly was the patient.

The project was sponsored by Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) and a spokesperson noted that important themes that came up in responses from attendees included: newer uses of technology, improving personal relationships and more opportunities for collaboration.

HIROC is a non-profit healthcare liability insurer which was created in 1987 when 53 of Ontario’s hospitals and healthcare organizations came together to create a self-administered liability insurance plan. It has since grown to become Canada’s largest non-profit healthcare liability insurer, owned by its subscribers.

Also spotted among the exhibits was a new bed, the ook snow All – a new 3-in-1 hospital bed from umano medical. Generally, hospitals have separate beds for bariatric, med-surg and low height purposes, and may be stored if they are not needed by specific types of patient. But the ook snow All can be turned into any of those three – meaning it can continue to stay in use.

Delegates on the exhibitor floor at the Hospital Supply Chain Network Conference 2018.

On the market only since January, this bed has a width that can be adjusted. At its widest, it can support two people, often a desired feature with palliative patients and for birthing, and has a 1,000 lb capacity. The height of the bed can be adjusted, with the lowest level being 10 inches/25.4 inches off the ground. It also has a built-in bed exit detection system to minimize falls and a built-in scale.

If open shelving units don’t give you enough selection for storing items, ACART was showing off one of its new KanBan Systems. It is a portable, stainless steel unit that has both shelves and baskets. The walls of the baskets are pressure-fitted and can be adjusted to whatever size is needed.

What was Staples, the office supply store, doing in a healthcare exhibit hall? Did you know Staples does $1.2-billion worth of business in North and South America just in the healthcare sector? $30-mil/year of that is with Canadian healthcare settings. A lot of it has nothing to do with paperclips or toner cartridges (though, that is a part of it). Products supplied by the company include janitorial & cleaning supplies; antimicrobial keyboards and mice; medical carts, hospital and cafeteria furniture, hand sanitizer, and even some chemical products.

Two exhibits at the HSCN showed that barcodes will become more integral parts of hospital life, and will help with everything from tracking items from the loading dock to disposal. Barcodes are symbols that can be scanned electronically using laser or camera-based systems, and are used to encode data such as product numbers, serial numbers and batch numbers. They play a key role in supply chains (think grocers), providing an easy way to keep track of inventory, including how much there is and where it’s located.

They can be put on everything from medications, surgical tools, packaged food items, catheters and even patient bracelets. Barcodes can also help provide recall and expiration alerts, medication doses, and more.

One exhibitor was Genesis Automation – a company that creates barcodes for specialized uses as well as wireless phone-sized readers that can read any barcode. Another was GS1 (Global Standard) Canada which is part of a neutral, not-for-profit international organization helping set standards for barcodes and is working to get more healthcare settings on-board with implementing barcode systems.

Pippa Wysong is a freelance writer.