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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 has also installed three Ekahau TS2 temperature-sensing tags to monitor the conditions inside medication refrigerators within its pharmacy and cancer center. The TS2 tag, mounted to a refrigerator's exterior, has a wired sensor probe that is installed inside the unit in which temperature levels are being measured. Strand says the hospital has approximately 200 such refrigerators in which sensor-based data would be useful. However, he is waiting for Ekahau to release a wireless sensor tag that could be attached to an item stored within a refrigeration unit, and thus does would not need to be attached to the unit with a probe inserted into the machine. This, he says, would make it easier to move units and continue tracking the temperatures within.
Additionally, the hospital is evaluating the use of Ekahau infrared beacons to provide more specific location data for areas in which Altru Health may need to know in which part of a room a particular tag is located. Each beacon transmits its unique ID number via an IR signal, and a Wi-Fi tag within range of that signal forwards that beacon's ID back to the Vision software, which can identify the specific zone in which that tag is located.
At this time, Strand says he has not conducted any analysis regarding how much time or cost is being saved thanks to the new technology. "It's still progressing right now," he states, "but there are people using the system and liking it." The visitor badges have been especially popular, he adds, as they enable guests to move around the facility while waiting for a patient, rather than having to remain in the waiting room to learn any status updates.
In the future, Strand also plans to employ the technology to track laptop computers. No tag would be necessary for that application, he notes—rather the hospital would simply install software on each laptop itself to prompt the machine to transmit its unique identifier to the Vision system.
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