Broaden your focus to improve ROI, compliance and safety
Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies have become synonymous with tracking hard assets such as infusion pumps and beds in hospital and healthcare facilities.
Today however it is important for healthcare executives and hospital administrators to start thinking more broadly about asset tracking technologies and applying them to safety devices and measures-as this will open the door to improving hospital readiness and automating compliance.
To date, one of the primary reasons for implementing asset tracking technologies in hospitals has been to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. The results have been significant:
- A 400 bed for profit hospital in South Florida was renting 630 oxygen tanks a month from a leading gas supplier. The process for managing tanks was not controlled and empty tanks could be found in key locations across the facility. After installation of an RTLS solution, tanks rented decreased by 50 percent, hard costs were reduced by 70 percent and labor to manage tanks reduced by 80 percent. More importantly, equipment was kept at par value at all times and the level of readiness was increased
- Tracking IV pumps at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, GA enabled VIZZIA Technologies to right-size the purchase of a new fleet reducing the capital purchase by over $535k while also reducing equipment rental costs by over $217k per year
- At Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA deployment of RLTS was able to reduce rental expenses and annual equipment replacement costs by over $150k per year from loss and theft alone
Asset Tracking and Emergency Preparedness
Expanding the focus of tracking critical assets from high-value movable medical equipment to other important life safety equipment such as fire extinguishers can also help with emergency preparedness.
When disaster strikes knowing where safety equipment is located and its level of operational readiness is vital. This includes knowing if O2 tanks are full, to the location of evacuation chairs and fire extinguishers-which can be the first line of defense and also the last resort in a fire.
In fact the State of Florida’s Hospital Surge Plan, which is designed to assist hospitals in assessing, updating or developing plans for response to a significant surge incident, identifiesinventory and tracking of bed availability, staff on site and equipment as being major componentsof a surge and emergency operations plan (EOP).1
Medical and safety devices such as employee distress medallions, medical oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), IV pumps and many others are being integrated into the RTLS infrastructure providing not only significant ROI through improved process and reduced inventory, but substantially lowered risk and improved life safety.
|Broader Applications for Asset Tracking-Safety and Compliance
Asset tracking infrastructure can include multiple technologies and systems. Wireless technologies approved by UL or other listing organizations integrated into leading asset tracking software can give hospital’s an unprecedented level of transparency into safety status on the same software used to track pumps and beds.Attaching sensors to critical safety assets can provide early warning of equipment use and 24×7 on readiness status as well as allow signals to be sent to the right team member at the right time.The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization, that accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, has identified the most challenging hospital accreditation standards in the first half of 2013.Among the five standards that were most frequently deemed not compliant for hospitals in the first half of this year was ‘Building and fire protection features are designed and maintained to minimize the effects of fire, smoke and heat (LS.02.01.10).’ Noncompliance rates thus far in 2013 are 45 percent (46 percent in 2012).2Monitoring fire extinguishers for example can eliminate 90 percent of all required inspections as well as speed up response time in an emergency. Asset tracking technologies can be deployed to monitor scores of safety compliance concerns including AEDs, generators, evacuation equipment and electrical panel obstruction.
Integration of safety into asset tracking systems has the further benefit of increasing cultural adoption of RTLS technologies. After all, safety is the job of all healthcare team members.
Key Asset Tracking Recommendations
Brendan McSheffrey, CEO en-Gauge and Andrew Halasz, CEO VIZZIA Technologies
1. McSheffrey, B. Florida Hospital Surge Plan. Available at:http://www.doh.state.fl.us/demo/bpr/PDFs/FL_Hospital_Surge_Plan_Checklist.pdf
2. Halasz, A. 5 Most Challenging Joint Commission Hospital Requirements. Available at: http://beckershospitalreview.com/quality/5-most-challenging-joint-commission-hospital-requirements-8-28-13.html