Something strange seems to be happening in VA hospitals in Ohio. Since 2014, expensive medical equipment has been vanishing, literally without a trace, and the value of the missing items ranges from $90,000 to over $300,000 per item.
These losses are concerning when you consider that the VA has spent over $400 million in tracking devices nationwide, and $24 million alone was spent in the state of Ohio.
Some of the missing items include a portable patient lift valued at $5,000, a stretcher valued at $12,000, a bedside monitor valued at $28,000, and a sign-in kiosk valued at $8,500. Yes, a kiosk.
What kinds of tracking devices is the VA using, then, if items like those listed above can just disappear? It uses RTLS, which stands for “real-time location system.” Two kinds of RTLS exist, one that shows the location of an object using radio or wi-fi signals, and one that a VA employee can “scan” for identification.
However, for radio or wi-fi to be useful, the signals have to actually work, and they have been shown to work only intermittently. And it is highly likely that employees are not scanning every object each time it moves, so items that go “missing” may actually exist, just in the wrong place.
In response, hospitals like the VA in Cincinnati have stopped purchasing trackers altogether because they cannot justify the taxpayer cost. So, it seems inevitable that the equipment losses will just keep on coming.