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Mainspring Healthcare Offers New Workflow Solution to Go With New Name
The company, previously known as St. Croix Systems, is supplying hospitals with a single software platform to manage multiple technologies, including RTLS and passive UHF RFID tags, to track the movements of goods and people, as well as sensor data.
According to Goddard, the setting up of a workflow-management system, and the ability to track adherence to that system via passive RFID tags, provides the necessary visibility to drive workflow policies across a wider set of use cases, at a lower price than an RTLS solution alone. "We're not about dots on a map," he explains, referring to the icon commonly displayed on RTLS-based software that illustrates an asset's or person's real-time location. "We're about workflow. You have to connect those dots to drive workflow and results."
The software also comes with an iOS-based series of applications, known as iLoveIt. The apps—which customers will soon be able to download from iTunes and then activate via a password from Mainspring—include iNeedIt, which enables workers to request support (such as specific medications or tools) using an iPhone, as well as iGotIt, which lets a worker acknowledge a request and report on delivery plans. For example, if a nurse requires specific medication for a patient, she can input that request using her iPhone, and then go back into the app for updates regarding the status of that request, which can be provided to the patient, family members or physicians. If the medicine, or the cart transporting that drug, has a passive RFID tag attached to it, that tag's unique ID number could also be entered into the system, and the app would automatically indicate the zone in which it was located.
Mainspring generally does not advise hospitals to discard their existing RTLS technology, Goddard notes. If a system can provide specific location data in real time as long as the tags' batteries are operational, he says, that data can still be fed to Mainspring's workflow-management software, and passive UHF RFID tags and readers could provide redundancy, as well as location data in the event that an active tag's battery dies.
Goddard cites the exceptionally high cost of health care in the United States compared to in other nations, and says that while there are multiple problems causing that high expense, the lack of visibility and a management system that links all of a hospital's systems has led to waste. "We can't deliver affordable health care until we fix the operational piece," he states.
One of Mainspring's customers, the State University of New York's Upstate Medical Hospital (SUNY Upstate), located in Syracuse, installed an active RFID system in 2009 to track several thousand pieces of high-value, mobile equipment throughout its 12-floor facility (see New York Medical Center Tracks OR Equipment for Trauma Care). After several years, however, the tags began to disappear from the system, as their batteries died, according to David Eck, SUNY Upstate's director of clinical engineering. This problem, he says, led the hospital to seek out a solution from Mainspring. The company has provided a system by which the hospital attaches passive UHF tags to some assets, and then tracks those tags as they move through three reader portals installed at the Central Equipment Services department. This makes it possible for the medical facility to determine when the decontamination process begins and is completed for each item, as well as when that asset leaves the center to be returned to the staff for use at the hospital.
To provide even greater visibility, the hospital is now sampling the iGotIt app, enabling personnel to input the time and date when each item was received. Eck says he intends to continue using the existing active RFID solution as well, but in a limited capacity, with fewer assets being tagged, and with batteries being periodically replaced.
Mainspring offers its software on a hosted server accessible by users. Some customers have installed the software on their own servers, however, and manage the data themselves. In a third option, some facilities choose to store and manage data both on their own server and on Mainspring's, in order to provide redundancy.
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