Date of Award

3-2013

Degree Name

MS in Industrial Engineering

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Tali Freed

Abstract

Although Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technologies for inventory tracking have been growing in popularity, the healthcare industry has been reluctant to adopt these technologies. One of the primary reasons for this lack of enthusiasm has been the risk associated with electromagnetic interference between RFID/RTLS systems and medical equipment functionality. The other reason has been the substantial cost and complexity of implementing RFID/RTLS in healthcare organizations. In this study, we show that there are several ways to safely install RFID/RTLS systems to improve the inventory management processes of hospitals and clinics. We then analyze the inventory shrinkage (loss and theft) data of the Veterans Health Administration VISN 10 (the Veterans Integrated Service Network of Ohio) using a mathematical model to estimate the annual shrinkage. Finally, we develop an economic cost/benefit analysis database system in Microsoft Access that can be used to calculate the breakeven point of RFID/RTLS implementations, as well as calculate the expected reduction in inventory- related operating costs. This system can be adapted for cost/benefit analyses in similar inventory-intensive environments.