Best Practices: UDI Tracking & Traceability

Written By

Mareo McCracken
Mareo McCracken

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FDA Unique Device Identification (UDI) requirements are coming. The challenges they bring are substantial, and solutions are varied and often complex. Although the medical device supply chain is filled with obstacles for manufacturers, distributors, and hospitals  UDI is another step on the path to progress.

As the new UDI requirements are implemented, visibility will be gained. Healthcare supply chains, including medical device manufacturers and hospitals, must work together to increase visibility for everyone.

Separate Tools and Processes

Every company and hospital has its own process, and each process is different. Commonly used tools include various barcode standards, RFID, and manual serialization. The demand for software to bridge the gap in tools and processes is needed now more than ever.

Barcodes — and, when used correctly, RFID tags — can dramatically improve the healthcare supply chain visibility for medical device sales, ops, surgical, and marketing teams. At Movemedical, we believe that visibility leads to accountability, accountability leads to efficiency, and efficiency leads to reducing waste and risk. Visibility is the first step.

Hybrid Solutions = Big Potential  

In the case of UDI compliance, companies are already turning to barcodes, RFID, and “atomic stock” to address the device traceability issues, but separate processes and tools for different types of inventory just create more work. When you have some inventory that is RFID and some that is barcoded, you must have different processes to manage the various tools. Having software that can manage all of your inventory, no matter the traceability process, is key to simplifying operations, improving data accuracy, and reducing time and cost.   

By using the tools (e.g., barcodes, RFID) in conjunction with a robust field sales and operations asset management software, manufacturers, distributors, and hospitals can decrease waste while improving asset utilization. And more than just visibility and traceability, when set-up correctly, the software can trigger re-orders and expiring inventor alerts. These features, along with the ability to collect large amounts of passive data, allow better analytics & performance for all stakeholders.

User Adoption is Key

With UDI traceability, the only way to get accurate location and usage information is to ensure the users are compliant with the correct tools and processes. Most inventory management, consignment, trunk stock, and RFID software was not built with the end user in mind. This is why adoption is hard. Multiple nonspecific systems have been patched together in attempts to create solutions. When a tool is built for a specific purpose, the sales reps and ops teams will use it. A solution is needed that is purpose-built to handle the medical device supply chain, a solution that is robust enough to handle all processes and tools yet flexible enough to work for all stakeholders.

Reducing Costs Together  

Every organization needs to reduce costs and inefficiencies. Some tools are good at providing historical visibility at best, yet do nothing to actually get the real work done. The key to changing the industry is to use a tool that allows all the work — future, current, and past — to occur in one system. A single, easy-to-use tool, where all the work that needs to get done is completed in one system, is the beginning to driving true change and compliance.

Increasing compliance will increase visibility. That visibility will drive material benefits for your business. You need a partner that has achieved this in the past and will do it again. You need a partner that can help you navigate the complex UDI regulations. You need Movemedical.

Movemedical was built to connect the medical device last-mile supply chain. If you are ready to reduce costs and increase compliance, we are here to help.

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