The Cost of Not Using an Asset Tracking Solution

By Tim Vanevenhoven, Blog Contributor
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I recently visited a hospital to discuss their requirements for an asset tracking solution. The primary use case is to locate medical equipment when it is due for its annual maintenance. They went into detail about the magnitude of the task for the operations and maintenance team, and how much time is lost. They needed a solution that was simple to set up and easy to use.

They said it is not uncommon for a $25,000 specialty bed to end up in the wrong department, and then for it to accidentally get placed into a storage closet and not seen for months. Neither the hospital staff nor someone responsible for maintaining the bed would know where it was.

That situation led to the secondary use case, which was to ensure that all equipment was actively in use. They went on to explain a scenario I have heard many times. When staff is routinely unhappy that they can't find a piece of equipment when they need it, the facility team rents or purchases more. They must not have enough, right? Of course, this practice meant that the amount of equipment that needs service grows. A vicious cycle of inefficiency ensues….


They talked more specifically about the $25,000 beds and $10,000 stretchers that were purchased—and then found in a storage area after being unused for months. The same for bariatric beds, which were rented for more than $2,000 per month. At this point, we weren't even talking about other types of expensive equipment, such as infusion pumps, portable ultrasound machines, and wheelchairs.

Business Value of Asset Tracking

The statistics I have commonly seen on lost equipment at hospitals are staggering.  On average, 10% to 20% of a group of medical assets are lost over their lifetime. Doing some simple back-of-the-envelope calculations, if this facility could place asset tags on 500 beds in the hospital, and prevent just 5% of the beds (half the typical loss rate) from going missing, it would save $625,000 in replacement cost!

25 beds * $25,000 per bed = $625,000 lost value

That is easily a saving of approximately three to four times the cost of a full Bluetooth-based asset tracking solution deployment! And remember this is just the replacement cost of beds! Other cost savings to consider:

  • Lost time that maintenance and healthcare staff spends searching for assets
  • Out-of-maintenance devices posing a health risk and potential lawsuits
  • The cost of buying or renting more equipment that is really needed
  • The cost of not meeting compliance requirements

It was clear to me—and this customer—that there is a huge cost to NOT investing in an asset tracking solution. The ROI argument is clear, and the payback is delivered in an incredibly short amount of time. By leveraging their Aruba Wi-Fi infrastructure and standard mobile devices, they could have the solution working in days, not weeks or months.

As I left and headed back to my car, I walked past the same seemingly abandoned wheelchair near the parking lot that I saw on my way in. I wondered if anyone knew if this wheelchair was just sitting here, and how many people were waiting upstairs for a wheelchair to go home.

Learn more about the Aruba Asset Tracking solution.