How Medical Device Manufacturers Digitize Trunk Inventory Of Loaner Instruments

Loaner instruments such as ortho, implants, scopes, and laparoscopy, have become essential to healthcare facilities. What if the manufacturer knew which loaner intruments were in each rep’s trunk inventory? How could it be utilized to improve inventory utilization? How valuable would it be to know the actual location of consignment inventory, whether in a hospital or with a field salesman? What are the solutions for making the entire process less time-consuming and error-prone?











Vendors of loaner instruments leverage tracking technology and loaner management software to gain insights into trunk and consignment inventory.


The technology and processes to enable visibility of trunk inventory, loaners, consignment, and even the warehouse are now available. 


Electronic RFID tags that allow full tracking in the field automate the data collection. The battery-free trackers are totally field-proof from the warehouse to the trunk and the SPD for re-processing and are designed to be put on all types of metal and plastic trays, cassettes, containers.

Which Loaner Management Software

Consignment inventory management features are already supported in integrated solutions such as:

  • CardinalHealth
  • SPM from Steris
  • LoanerLink from Censis
  • SpaceTRAX from Stanley Healthcare


By incorporating tracking capabilities into their workflows, medical vendors benefit directly from streamlining their field inventory, as well as its location and identification. 


The benefits of digitization extend to the institutions, where increased asset availability helps improve patient outcomes thanks to better surgical case coordination, scheduling between institutions and vendors, shorter pre-op notification lead-time, and increased overall accountability.

Managing Consignment Inventory In SPD

SPD departments are still learning to deal with the added complexity stemming from loaner instrumentation management, and medical device tracking can help.

The increased number of loaner trays, containers, and cassettes poses a logistical challenge, which is exacerbated by the impact on patient safety and service quality:

  • How do I decontaminate, process, and handle instruments that are uncommon, rare, or complex?
  • How do I get access to their count sheets and usage instructions?
  • How can I learn about a loaner set’s history records and document its reprocessing information at the facility?
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While the use of loaner instrumentation may be temporary, the SPD is responsible for cleaning, sterilization, maintenance, and inventory integrity while in the custody of the healthcare institution. As a result, any tracking technology considered must be safe for all processing methods, particularly sterilization: ETO, cold solutions, autoclave/dry heat…

Loaner Instruments And The OR

The OR will focus on get the right instrumentation sets, on time, and in the right room, as with all required instrumentation.


Technology is already available at hand with scheduling systems such as Cerner, EPIC, Meditech, but more than often, loaner instruments are not fully tracked.


In addition to reducing inventory-related OR delays, instrumentation sets will be built based on physician preferences. Each instrumentation set prepared for a specific case is labeled to assist perioperative nurses in proactive patient safety.

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Consigned Inventory Management From Barcodes To RFID

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Medical device manufacturers are not new to trunk inventory with many looking at upgrading their tracking solutions to RFID. The technology is taking over from the first-generation loaner and consignment program tracking solutions that used barcodes, QR codes, and other camera/computer vision technologies.


The rationale behind the technology upgrade is found in several operational advantages over older tracking solutions. Used with the right medical device tracking software, RFID enables real-time inventory tracking. It allows for inventory automation and is fully operational in the OR, SPD, and in the field, providing full data accuracy.


Moreover, the unique identifiers provided by RFID tags are UDI-compliant for full traceability from manufacturer to patient. RFID has a long history of usage in the medical field and is fully interoperable with existing systems, facilitating the upgrade and its deployment at the facility.

The RFID tracking devices come in the form of Passive UHF RFID tags designed to be attached to the surgical loaner trays, containers, and cassettes. The RFID tags are made of medical-grade materials such as 316L stainless steel and engineered plastics. They are shock-resistant and processing-safe, being designed to withstand standard processing and sterilization methods.

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The RFID tags fit both metal and plastic trays and take advantage of existing holes on surgical trays to provide a perfect fit using rivets or screws. The addition of metal inserts ensures a solid bond with the trays throughout the rigors of processing, while the option to use screws allows for easy removal or replacement if required.

Xerafy is a pioneer in RFID for Healthcare and Medical applications, bringing to market critical technological innovations that enable advanced identification and automation capabilities.


In addition to a complete range of field-proven RFID tags available off-the-shelf, Xerafy offers Custom RFID Tags services, covering everything from a personalization service bureau to custom design engineering capabilities.

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