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made it nearly impossible to maintain precise inventory and compliance records without

hiring additional internal staff and implementing redundant procedures. The company quickly realized a mobile solution was vital in moving the business to the next level and looking to future growth.

Solution

In early 2011, Family Respiratory selected Barcoding Inc. to deliver a mobile proof-of-delivery (POD) solution as part of its newly purchased billing- and inventory-control system. Barcoding is a national systems integrator, specializing in the development, deployment and management of supply chain and mobility systems based on automated data capture and wireless technology.

The first step of the implementation was to create bar- codes within the company’s new inventory management software application for every serialized piece of equipment that was under federal control requirements. To track the products, Barcoding configured and deployed Intermec CN50 mobile computers for Family Respiratory’s more than 20 field technicians and respiratory therapists. Through on-site, customized training, Barcoding made sure that all staff had the knowledge and skills necessary to take full advantage of the benefits the handheld mobile computers offer. Barcoding’s experienced, certified repair and technical support teams continue to provide post-implementation support though a tiered helpdesk with rapid issue resolution both via phone and remote access. If a piece of hardware is not functioning properly, Barcoding will quickly repair or replace the component so Family Respiratory experiences little to no downtime.

Once the technicians were armed with the new CN50 mobile devices, the company began to realize additional quality-improvement capabilities beyond improved inven- tory tracking, receiving, shipping and overall accuracy. The handheld devices allowed for a variety of real-time func- tionalities, such as tracking staff on the road, to improving routing, managing equipment and viewing patient information and in-home inventories that were previously not accessible with hardcopy orders.

In addition, when office personnel needed to assign an “add-on” or an additional responsibility to one of the field technicians, they could now dispatch it through the delivery- management software to the CN50 device in the field. The technician immediately receives a notification and acknowl- edges the add-on through the software, confirming with the dispatcher that the action will be completed.

Results Within a few short months, Family Respiratory began see- ing significant results and return on investment. By assigning barcodes to all the equipment and automating its processes,

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the company greatly reduced human error and improved the level of quality assurance. Family Respiratory is now experiencing real-time, accu- rate inventory accountability – with error ratios of .001 or less – for every serialized piece of government-con- trolled product it delivers. This enables quick identi- fication, location and ac- cess to specific products for FDA compliance, or tracking in the event of a recall. From an operations perspective, both the delivery and receiving processes have greatly improved. By track- ing staff to determine efficient routing for drivers and techni- cians and streamlining the dispatch process, Family Respiratory has improved the de- livery process 100 percent and reduced fuel expenses. In the warehouses, auto- mating the entry of serial numbers has cut receiving time by 80-85 percent. On the admin- istrative side, the

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Intermec’s CN50 mobile computer

automation and electronic delivery of orders has reduced paperwork by 90 percent; this reduction cannot be over- emphasized, especially in an industry where the burden of paperwork is tremendous, and at a company that previously processed more than 200,000 pieces of paper annually.

Looking forward

Through this deployment, Family Respiratory quickly eliminated several internal processes that became redundant, freeing up employee time and allowing for the reallocation of resources. These results position Family Respiratory for a future of smart growth because the company is now statisti- cally tracking and adding employees only when necessary, eliminating manual processes and implementing additional capabilities, such as mileage tracking and maintenance on vehicles.

HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY August 2012 15

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