Interview: “With UHF RFID, you can read dozens of instruments, handpieces and supplies”
Finland-based company LM-Dental develops, produces and markets high-tech dental hand instruments and its tracking system, together with ultrasonic devices, orthodontic appliances and more. In an interview with Dental Tribune International, LM-Dental Business Development Manager Valter Rönnholm discusses the company’s tracking system, which uses ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID). He talks about some of its major benefits.
Why is LM-Dental using UHF RFID for dental product traceability?
The benefit of using UHF RFID as opposed to optical technologies—such as barcodes, data matrix and dot peen—is that it allows for faster reading of several items at a time. With barcodes, every individual item needs to be read separately and you need to turn the barcode towards the barcode reader in the same way as at grocery store checkout counters. With UHF RFID, you can read dozens of instruments, handpieces and supplies in a single step without twisting and turning each item separately.
How has this inclusion in LM-Dental’s range of hand instruments and products from third parties helped dentists?
Instruments from LM-Dental and handpieces, composites and other products with RFID tags from third parties can be connected to the LM Dental Tracking System (LM DTS). This makes it possible for clinic managers to log in to the cloud server and see the location and condition of the instruments, handpieces and materials in stock. With the help of RFID and LM DTS, the entire history of every product can be documented automatically, which is very important from the perspective of patient safety and infection control.
The system can also automatically alert you if equipment needs maintenance, inspection or sterilisation. This improves efficiency and reduces both human errors and time spent on manual documentation. More time can be spent in taking care of patients as less time is needed for administrative work. Our customers can also use the data from the LM DTS to develop their processes constantly and to improve instrument and supplies management, logistics and operational efficiency to the benefit of the clinic, the staff and the patients.
What are the advantages of including this throughout the entire LM-Dental product profile and enabling retro-tagging of existing items from practically any manufacturer?
Currently, most products manufactured by LM are available with an integrated RFID tag. In the future, all items used clinically in dentistry will have an RFID tag regardless of the manufacturer. It is already possible to place retrofit tags on existing handpieces, implant packages or other items used in daily clinical practice. This makes it easy for clinics to make fact-based decisions both in daily clinic operations as well as in the long-term budgeting and planning of purchasing.
What have been some of the major lessons learnt during the implementation of the LM DTS?
When the development of the DTS system began in 2011, the assumption was that RFID technology would be of interest mainly to large institutions. Over time, it has become evident that the benefits of LM DTS are also important for clinic chains and individual clinics, as they require the same benefits as larger clinics. After all, the goal of every clinic, regardless of size, is to provide every patient with the best possible care and to avoid wasting time and money on anything that doesn’t support this goal.