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RTLS to Aid Geisinger's Hospitals in Tracking Assets

The Pennsylvania organization's two largest facilities are installing TeleTracking Technologies software and CenTrak hardware to help staff more easily locate equipment, as well as reduce logistics and inventory costs.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 23, 2012Geisinger Health System is adopting a real-time locating system (RTLS) to help track medical equipment at its two largest facilities. The Pennsylvania-based integrated health services organization intends to install an RTLS solution that can be managed via the same software that it already uses to track patient beds. The RTLS and bed-tracking solutions are being provided by TeleTracking Technologies.

The RTLS is being installed at the Geisinger Medical Center (GMC), an 800,000-square-foot facility with 45 clinic areas, located in Danville. By early next year, the same technology is expected to be taken live at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (GWV), a 375,000-square-foot facility in Wilkes-Barre housing 19 clinical areas.

To improve the efficiency of its operations, Geisinger had already been utilizing multiple TeleTracking software applications that do not employ radio frequency identification. For example, both GMC and GWV have installed TeleTracking's Bed Management Suite, which includes TeleTracking's BedTracking and PreAdmitTracking solutions, to manage the movements of patients throughout the sites. In 2011, both facilities also went live with TransportTracking, which manages the movements of patients and equipment from dispatch request through final destination, based on data inputted by employees.

Throughout that span of time, says Kevin Capatch, Geisinger's director of supply chain technology and process engineering, the health services organization had been seeking an RTLS solution for the purpose of tracking assets. The objective, he says, was to reduce the amount of time that staff members spent searching for items, as well as ensure that excess inventory is not ordered to replace assets thought missing that were, in fact, onsite.

While Geisinger was still considering a variety of vendors during its search for an appropriate solution, Capatch says, an event occurred two years ago that demonstrated how important RTLS technology was to the hospital. A recall of IV pumps, of which Geisinger had hundreds, required that every pump within its facilities be located and replaced—a very laborious process, he notes. "We had to take all of them out of the system," he states, adding, "to have an event of this magnitude going on, without RTLS, is very time-consuming. We had a flurry of activity around it." If the IV pumps had been RFID-tagged, he says, the process would have been considerably easier, since personnel could simply have searched for all of the pumps in the software and then be directed to each.

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