Datalogic ADC's mobile computers instrumental in remote medical inventory process savings

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Keeping track of dozens of medical devices dispersed throughout a hospital is no easy task. Now, imagine having to do this at 800 hospitals in the US and abroad. Such is the case for AngioScore Inc., the manufacturer of a balloon catheter used in treating arterial disease.

AngioScore must track inventory and keep records of when the devices are used in order to get paid. Hospitals use the AngioSculpt Scoring Balloon Catheter devices on consignment, a common practice in the medical device industry. Rather than buying the equipment directly, hospitals store the units on site and only pay for the actual units used. Fremont, California-based AngioScore retains ownership until the devices are used in surgery. Therefore, the burden falls on AngioScore's field sales force to track the use of as many as 70 devices in one hospital.

AngioScore's success, with a threefold increase in sales in just five years, was causing their consignment program to expand beyond manageability. The company knew it needed a better way for recordkeeping. Tracy Moss, Customer Service Business Analyst at AngioScore mentioned, "it was a very labor-intensive process, creating an issue for the hospitals and for us."

With a recommendation from its ERP vendor, Expandable Software, AngioScore contacted Purple Oak Inc. of Morton Grove, Illinois. Purple Oak, an Authorized Datalogic Business Partner, has extensive experience interfacing Automatic Data Capture technology with Expandable ERP, and other ERP and WMS systems. Purple Oak's FELIX™ Mobile Work Assistant system was a perfect match for maintaining the remote consignment inventory. Purple Oak gave AngioScore a choice of three FELIX-compatible devices. After testing the units, the Windows-powered, pocket-sized Memor™ mobile computer was the clear winner. In August 2011, AngioScore approved deployment of 50 Memor mobile computers. The units were deployed over four weeks and by the end of October, all AngioScore field reps had them in hand.

"The Datalogic device stood out," recalls Purple Oak CEO Joe DeCarlo. "It packs a lot of power into a very small handheld. The sales reps who carry these mobile computers also carry a lot of other items in their briefcases. AngioScore wanted something that was small, easy, and lightweight." DeCarlo says he also likes the Datalogic handhelds because "they are rugged and well-built. Batteries last as long as expected and the devices don't suffer from the wear-and-tear issues of some competitors, such as buttons that pop out, fractured screens and casings that break when they fall."

"Another outstanding feature of the Memor mobile computer is the accuracy of its laser scanner," indicates Moss, "which is fundamental to effective data capture for recordkeeping." Medical products can have long, dense bar codes that are printed in a small area making them difficult to read for some bar code scanners. The Memor mobile computer has no trouble reading these bar codes. In addition, the Datalogic patented Green Spot technology that illuminates a green spot on the bar code after it has been read assures good read feedback. Sara Longo, an AngioScore field rep comments, "the Green Spot is great, I know each bar code is read when I see it. What used to take me over half an hour now takes just minutes."

Another crucial task handled by the FELIX-Equipped Memor mobile computer is checking for expired AngioSculpt devices used in labs and operating rooms to treat fibro-calcific, bifurcation and ostial lesions. AngioScore must be diligent about removing expired devices from hospitals. "Our system using FELIX-equipped Memor mobile computers clearly and loudly indicates expired or about to be expired products with every scan," says DeCarlo.

Overall, the devices have completely transformed consignment inventory management, reducing a process that could take hours in each hospital to mere minutes," added Moss. "Recordkeeping has improved and the billing process is much quicker. Plus, customer service has become much more efficient thanks to increased inventory accuracy, allowing the operator to identify the need for a new unit and send it to the hospital faster."

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