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Altru Health Uses RTLS to Provide Patient Updates to Visitors, Track Assets
The Wi-Fi-based system, from Ekahau, also enables a security application, whereby employees can summon help via their RTLS badges.
The hospital currently has approximately 900 Ekahau A4 asset tags on intravenous pumps, code-blue crash carts, beds and wheelchairs. The tags are being used not only for real-time location tracking, but also for par-level monitoring. For example, Strand says, the Ekahau Vision software has been programmed to identify if three or more of a specific item type—such as an IV pump—enter the dirty utility room. At that time, an alert is sent to authorized personnel to collect the equipment and move the items to the cleaning or maintenance areas. The hospital can also analyze the data in order to determine where and how often the equipment is used. If it finds, for instance, that IV pumps are being utilized more often on a specific floor, management can then route a larger number of those pumps to that floor on a regular basis.
The hospital rents some equipment, including specialty beds, from other companies, to ensure that sufficient equipment is always on hand for patient use. However, Strand says, with better information regarding how those items are being used, costs can be reduced—for example, by reducing the number of specialty beds that need to be rented, since the hospital now knows the exact number available.
This year, Altru Health began providing B4 badge tags to visitors, for use as notification devices. The main hospital uses about six such tags, and so does the Altru Specialty Center, since opening this past March. When family members or friends accompany a patient to either of the two facilities, they receive a B4 badge tag, which comes with an LED screen that can display text messages. As the patient moves from one process to another—while leaving surgery, for instance—staff members input that information into the Vision software, which is then displayed on the LED screen of a patient's visitors badge tag, such as "Patient 33 in post-op room 202."
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