Our role in developing the second generation of this system has demonstrated that this asset tracking technology offers ease of use, scalability options, including patient tracking, and strong potential for return on investment.
Morrisville, NC (PRWEB) April 21, 2009
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, an 870-bed healthcare system in North Carolina's Triangle region, has launched the RadarFind Real Time Location System (RTLS) at their WakeMed Cary Hospital location. After serving as a development partner since April 2008, the hospital is sharing their lessons learned with other hospitals considering investing in a totally integrated asset and patient tracking system.
"Knowing where our equipment is and how it is being used allows nurses to spend more time with their patients instead of looking for equipment. The RadarFind system also provides information about how we use our assets, which is enabling us to make better business decisions," said Mary Schilder, director of information services consulting for WakeMed. "Our role in developing the second generation of this system has demonstrated that this asset tracking technology offers ease of use, scalability options, including patient tracking, and strong potential for return on investment."
Schilder has identified several best practices that other hospitals should consider when researching and subsequently implementing asset and patient tracking systems. Among them are:
- Align strategy with business objectives: Clinical engineers and patient care staff involved in the implementation of an asset tracking system should work with hospital executives to ensure that their strategy aligns with the hospital's business objectives. Establishing this relationship upfront enables a hospital to more quickly determine the return on investment, and the information gathered can be used to lower costs and enhance patient care. For example, RadarFind's exclusive 3-position asset and status tag (signaling location and whether equipment is in-use, needs cleaning, or is available for patient care) generates utilization data integral to a hospital's equipment purchase or rental process.
- Tag assets/clinical equipment first, patients second: By tagging assets first, hospital staff can learn the system and see how it can favorably impact their workflows, allowing a seamless transition when patient tracking is implemented. At WakeMed, tracking expensive IV pumps was the first priority. A key consideration for originally choosing RadarFind was the ease and speed at which the RadarFind system can scale; adding more equipment, patient tags and plug-in readers to meet hospital needs is a simple process.
The hospital is also tagging vital signs monitors and mobile workstations. When deciding which assets to tag first, Schilder recommends hospitals consider a range of factors including the number of assets and cost per item, asset category nomenclature, rental agreements for a given item, if the item will be used hospital-wide or in a particular specialty area, and what the current process is for staff to readily obtain clean medical devices for patient care.
Updated RTLS empowers hospitals with unprecedented intelligence:
Based upon feedback from both WakeMed and other RadarFind users, the RadarFind RadarView modular software suite updates include a streamlined user interface and more detailed floor map/clinical area views, stronger security features and greater flexibility for generating requested reports. The system also incorporates a robust rules-based engine that can greatly improve patient safety within the hospital. For example, a rule can be set to alert appropriate staff if the equipment's tag status changes from "in-use" to "clean/available" without passing through the "dirty/unavailable" stage, as this may indicate the equipment was not properly disinfected between patient uses.
Another rule in RadarFind's TempView module can send an automated alert if a tag registers temperatures within clinical refrigerators beyond pre-set ranges. Hospital staff can immediately respond to prevent potentially dangerous and costly destruction of medications.
The updated RadarView software extends capability to indicate when equipment is temporarily out of service for repairs. This new software status feature can also historically track equipment maintenance activity, providing numerous benefits for clinical engineering staff.
Wireless communication between plug-in readers and collectors allow for faster installation and implementation--no disruption typically associated with other active RTLS installations. Additional process improvements include increased system resolution to room or hallway location accuracy, and the capacity to expand the RTLS to track up to 65,000 tagged assets or patients.
The system's remote diagnostic and added security features also enable RadarFind technicians to securely log into a hospital's RTLS and rapidly install subsequent software upgrades from RadarFind's service locations.
"We are confident that as more hospitals take advantage of transformative technologies such as Real Time Location Systems, our solution--designed specifically for the healthcare environment--will stand apart as the most accurate and efficient approach to automating equipment and patient tracking," said Dr. Vincent Carrasco, M.D., chief medical officer for RadarFind.
About RadarFind Corporation:
RadarFind Corporation, a healthcare technology company, offers a unique, patented Real Time Location System that uses an innovative platform technology for tracking medical equipment and patients. Specifically designed for hospitals by healthcare professionals, the RadarFind RTLS system seamlessly integrates with existing hospital infrastructure and operations, while functioning independently of a hospital's critical Wi-Fi network. Headquartered in the greater Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area, RadarFind develops integrated hardware and software solutions for their hospital customers and is the statewide NCTA 21 Award recipient for most innovative use of technology. For more information please call (919) 228-2100 or visit http://www.radarfind.com .
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals:
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. WakeMed's team of 7,000 nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care. For more information, visit http://www.wakemed.org .