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Texas Ophthalmology Clinics to Address Wait Times With RTLS
The Key-Whitman Eye Center is installing a hybrid IR and RFID system from Versus to reduce patients' wait times and visit lengths.
Oct 01, 2012—The Key-Whitman Eye Center, a Texas ophthalmic services provider with clinics in Dallas, Arlington and Plano, prides itself in providing cutting-edge medical services using the latest technologies (such as LASIK laser eye surgery). The reputation it has earned, however, has also led to some very traditional problems—namely, long waits for patients arriving at its two largest clinics for examinations, tests and surgical procedures.
A real-time location system (RTLS) provided by Versus Technology, using infrared (IR) and radio frequency identification technologies, is expected to solve the problem, says Dan Chambers, Key-Whitman's chief administrative officer. By tracking the movements of patients, staff members and doctors throughout the facility, the eye center hopes to gain a better understanding of where and for how long patients remain at one or more locations, as well as the amount of time they spend with care providers. This information will not only enable the staff to address problems in real time (such as a patient spending an excessive amount of time alone waiting for services), but also provide valuable information for business analysis at the end of the day, week or month.
By nature, Chambers says, the procedures and patient flow at the two larger clinics are constantly changing, since visits and services vary considerably. The Dallas clinic provides surgical procedures, as well as examinations and other basic eye-care services, and a patient's visit can often last hours as that person moves from one area (where, for example, he or she might receive eyedrops to dilate the irises) to another (such as an examining room). If unexpected testing is deemed necessary based on an exam's results, the patient will then be moved into yet another area of the 20,000-square-foot clinic. For some patients, this can mean spending several hours within the center, and enduring long waits in the waiting room.
No surgical procedures take place at the Plano Clinic, and movement during visits can thus be simpler. However, the sheer quantity of patients at the 5,000-square-foot facility can lead to long waits as well.
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