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Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Expands RTLS Usage

The Louisiana hospital operator is now installing a Skytron-CenTrak system at a second facility, with a third scheduled to go live after that.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 22, 2013

When it opened two years ago, the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, in Lafayette, La., had installed Skytron's Asset Manager real-time location system (RTLS) that provided it with insight into the movements and uses of its assets, while also improving staff performance. Earlier this year, the hospital, part of Louisiana-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, expanded that deployment by adding RTLS staff badges. By tracking both employees and equipment, the facility reports that it has improved its ability to manage equipment, locate and contact staff members, and understand how and when it serves patients. The Our Lady Health System is now installing the RTLS solution within a new tower at the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, in Baton Rouge, and plans to deploy the technology at a third hospital in the near future.

The data collected about tags and badges at all three hospitals will be managed on a centralized database. This, the organization explains, will allow it to better manage the locations of assets or personnel moving throughout each facility, as well as from one site to another.

Skytron's Asset Manager software helps Our Lady of Lourdes' staff to quickly locate crash carts and other equipment.
Our Lady of Lourdes is a 420,000-square-foot hospital that houses 186 beds and employs 1,200 workers, including 400 physicians. The asset-management system enables the facility to easily conduct asset recalls, issue alerts in the event that items are discovered missing from a specific area, locate crash carts and other equipment, and know when assets on those carts are due to expire. In addition, the system can track staff responsiveness (by identifying employees' locations) and send messages to personnel via a bedside nurse-call system (by knowing in which room each worker is located).

The technology is designed to allow a hospital to document the length of time and frequency of visits that staff members spend with patients, says Bryant Broder, Skytron's senior product manager, and to identify new ways to make health care more efficient, based on data culled from the system.

Our Lady of Lourdes' Terry Broussard
CenTrak's Gen2IR emitters send infrared signals to CenTrak badges worn by the staff, as well as to CenTrak tags attached to specific assets—such as crash carts, wheelchairs and hospital beds—within range of a particular emitter. The tags and badges, in turn, transmit 900 MHz signals to RFID readers (which CenTrak refers to as wireless network devices) that forward that information to the Skytron Asset Manager software residing on the hospital's server.

Initially, the Skytron Asset Manager system installed by Our Lady of Lourdes employed tags and readers supplied by another RTLS vendor. While the hardware did identify assets and their locations, Broder says, the collected location data was not very specific; instead, each tag was located according to a particular zone. Last year, the hospital decided to expand the system to also include staff members, in order to locate and communicate with individuals throughout the facility, in addition to verifying where personnel were at any given time. If a patient complains that housekeeping has not visited his or her bed, for example, the software enables management to review read data collected from that location, verify or disprove that assertion, and then make any changes, if necessary, to staff training or scheduling.

If managers need to speak with a staff member, they can use the technology to determine his or her location so that they can contact that individual via the nurse-call system telephone at that location.

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