Semiconductor lead times are creating equipment shortages. Improved asset utilization can help make better use of the equipment you already own.

Resurgence in consumer demand, supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine are combining to put added pressure on semiconductor supply. The start of the pandemic forced an idling of fabs. Forecasts from OEMs did not predict the rapid recovery in demand which has created a distinct “V” in the demand curve. The major markets driving this semiconductor demand are IOT, 5G, smart phones and automotive. According to a recent blog by Jabil, “As of December 2021, lead times for most semiconductors — no matter the type — are running 40 weeks or more. Essentially no waits are shorter than 28 weeks, but most are far longer. For certain microcontroller and FPGA families, customers are reporting average lead times of 52 weeks.”[1]

The industry impacts of the semiconductor shortage have focused on consumer products and cars. But medical device manufacturers are not immune and the consequences in healthcare are directly tied to peoples’ wellbeing. AdvaMed worked with Deloitte to investigate impact on medical technology (MedTech).[2] Results of a survey of the medical device manufacturers found,

  • “Two-thirds of companies have semiconductors and firmware/embedded software in over half of their products. In addition, 50 percent of respondents report that connected devices, which also require semiconductors, comprise half of their product portfolio.”
  • “MedTech’s primary needs are 2nd or 3rd generation chips, placing it in competition with automotive, industrial, and consumer industries for critical chips rather than high tech.”
  • “All respondents have experienced some disruption to their chip supply chain (figure 1). The most common disruptions are delays, order cancellations and short orders. Delays vary significantly, from two to 52+ weeks. According to one MedTech procurement lead, “Initially we were told we need to issue purchase orders until 2023 but that doesn’t seem to be enough to secure supply anymore.”

The result has limited the availability of critical medical equipment. Lack of necessary equipment in a hospital setting has real implications for patient outcomes. A study in Critical Care Medicine[3] found delay in transfer from the emergency department led to increased mortality and length of stay. Emergency department boarding times less than 6 hours saw a 12.9% mortality rate, where boarding times greater then 6 hours resulted in 17.4% mortality. One of the reasons for delayed boarding is coordinating the required equipment needed for boarding.

Having the right equipment at the right place at the right time also improves hospital operating efficiency. A 275-bed hospital that reduces the average stay by 4 hours will accomplish the equivalent of increasing physical capacity by 10 beds.

Strains on the supply of new equipment means healthcare providers should consider making better use of their existing assets. RTLS systems can help manage the equipment you have more effectively, even reducing your spend on new or leased equipment in the long run. An RTLS system can help in the following ways.

  • Find the nearest piece of equipment in the moment
  • Alert to potential hoarding
  • Path optimization of mobile devices that might be shared across various units
  • Help identify bottlenecks in equipment processes like sterilization or maintenance
  • Adhere to maintenance schedules to help extend of life

How to get started?

If you have an existing Wi-Fi system and would like to add RTLS capabilities, contact AiRISTA for a radio frequency site survey. The survey will determine the level of accuracy your infrastructure will provide and areas that need augmentation. Working with AiRISTA, we will interview team members to identify which use case will be the best to start with.

If you have an existing RTLS system, AiRISTA can work with you to expand its footprint or introduce new use cases. All of AiRISTA’s tags support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which reduces costs, battery maintenance and in some cases increases accuracy. Assets that you once thought were not practical to track using RTLS can now be brought into visibility.

Contact us at to get started.

[1] “Why Chips Are Down: Explaining The Global Chip Shortage”, Graham Scott, Jabil

[2] “The Semiconductor Chip Shortage Hits MedTech: Strategies to Build Resilient Supply Chains”, Bill Murray, Stephen Bradley, Deloitte, September 2021

[3] Chalfin D, Trzeciak S, Likourezos A, Baumann BM, Dellinger RP; DELAY-ED study group. Impact of delayed transfer of critically ill patients from the emergency department to the intensive care unit. Critical Care Medicine. 2007;35(6):1477-1483.

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