VA Awards $275 Million Contract to Track Supplies at Hospitals


Supply chain management deal provides systems to track supplies at point of use.

The Veterans Affairs Department awarded Shipcom Wireless of Houston a four-year contract with a maximum value of $275 million to help manage the supply chain in its 152 hospitals at the “point of use” -- wards, operating or emergency rooms.

VA’s current supply chain system “is outdated, underutilized and often accomplished manually,” said the department, which wanted to “build a world class advanced supply chain to serve as a benchmark for the overall healthcare logistics industry.”

VA wanted to acquire a point-of-use system that uses automated supply stations to streamline the supply chain for timely delivery of required supplies to the point where those supplies are consumed throughout a hospital.

These supply stations make material available at the point of use and may be capable of transmitting inventory balance information to facilitate an automated reorder process.

In June 2012, VA awarded HP Enterprise Services a $543 million contract to develop and install a real-time location system, or RTLS, in all its medical facilities to track supplies and equipment within 3 feet.  The department estimated each hospital would require 80,000 RTLS tags to track equipment.

The point-of-use system will include predictive analytic tools and business intelligence to reduce consumption while improving responsiveness and efficiency.

Potential uses and benefits of this technology throughout VA hospitals “are significant, and include improvement of quality of patient care, improved patient satisfaction, reduction of health care asset management costs, improvement of capacity/resource planning, improvement of employee and patient safety, as well as improvement of general asset management and inventory,” the department said.

Shipcom declined to provide details on the work it will perform for VA until the contract protest period expires.  The system is used in VA hospitals in Ohio and tracks more than 15,000 RTLS tags and 80,000 radio-frequency ID tags, the company said on its website.

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