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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
Within the GMC and GWV facilities, TeleTracking will attach tags to assets, including IV pumps, and install RFID collectors, spaced approximately every 80 to 90 feet, as well as IR beacons. The installation is expected to be completed in late 2012.

Initially, the two hospitals will use the system simply to locate assets. In the future, however, Geisinger plans to take advantage of the TeleTracking system's ability to provide business reporting, including sending alerts in the event that too many items are accumulating at a specific location. The technology could also be used during such scenarios as equipment recalls.

"The location information is what we are after," Capatch states. "It is the workflow from end-of-use to ready-to-use we can't manage today." The TeleTracking systems, when fully integrated, will notify logisticians that a particular pump is ready to be cleaned once it is placed within the designated "dirty location," and the logisticians will then clean the pumps and distribute them to the areas with the lowest clean par levels.

The use of RFID technology is not new to Geisinger Health System. Since 2010, its pharmacy has been employing passive UHF RFID tags in conjunction with TUG robots provided by Aethon (see Hospital Robot Tracks Controlled Substances, High-Value Meds). Aethon provides the hospital with the robots that deliver and retrieve medications, equipment and supplies throughout Geisinger's corridors. An RFID interrogator and antenna built into the robot captures the ID number of every tagged pharmaceutical placed within its drawers, thus providing Geisinger's hospital-based pharmacies with visibility into those drugs' location and status.

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