Tracking Loaner Pickup: Is It Worth It?

Closing the loop on when vendors pick up their loaned sets is good practice, in theory. But is it worth it? Following through on this endeavor is not as easy as it sounds, and not just because the rep is lazy.

Creating and enforcing the process and its necessary documentation of each tray’s chain of custody after a procedure presents challenges that technology, alone, cannot solve. Here are three common challenges to consider:

1. Lack of current system – If you don’t have a reliable system to track and evaluate the loaner drop-off process, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to establish one for pick-up.

2. Label Identification – Often, the only label for the set is on the wrap; once unwrapped, you’ve lost the tracking ID of that set. Even if one is attached, it’s still likely to be damaged or lost due to handling/cleaning as it passes from the OR and decontam before landing in the vendor pick-up room after the washer.

3. Vendor Participation – If the label has survived the journey, you’re still reliant on the vendor acknowledging their part - which they will not be very inclined to do. The challenges above are easy excuses as to why they would be unable to close the loop on documentation.

Reps have a nose for unenforced/weak policy. If they see strong policy enforcement throughout the rest of your department, you will be less likely to have problems on the back end. Given the limited resources most SPD’s are working with, efforts exhausted toward tracking vendor pick up seem wasteful.

Focus on the front end. Collaborate with your vendors and their surgeons to evaluate trends and benchmarks. Having collaborative policies in place at the beginning can help you eliminate the problems at the end.