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Christiana Care Health System to Adopt Awarepoint's New Bed and Bay Sensors

The new sensor, used in conjunction with Awarepoint's ZigBee-based real-time location system, is designed to precisely track assets, patients and clinicians in predefined spaces as small as 1 foot by 1 foot.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 11, 2013Awarepoint has completed testing of its new Bed & Bay sensor that aims to boost the granularity of the company's ZigBee-based location tracking system for the health-care industry. The device works in conjunction with 2.4 GHz active RFID tags worn by staff members and patients, or attached to assets, and can therefore identify a staff member who enters a specific zone, such as a single bay in a recovery room or emergency room. That data is sent to the back-end system via other types of Awarepoint sensors plugged into outlets that receive and forward RTLS data to a gateway.

The Bed & Bay sensor, which was in development through the latter half of 2012, will be commercially available March 31. The technology was tested for two weeks at three emergency departments in three Christiana Care Health System's health-care centers: Christiana Hospital, Wilmington Hospital and the Middletown Free-standing Emergency Department. The three emergency departements, all located in northern Delaware, will permanently deploy the Bed & Bay sensors as part of a full Awarepoint RTLS system.

Awarepoint's Bed & Bay sensor can be used to track when assets, patients or clinicians are located in a predefined space as small as 1 foot by 1 foot.
Most RTLS systems offer a level of location precision that can identify in which room an individual with an RTLS tag is located, or a zone within a large room in some cases. Ultrasound or infrared technology can increase that granularity by emitting an ultrasonic or IR signal that helps identify in closer proximity, exactly where a tag (worn by a staff member or attached to an asset, for example) is located. However, there are still shortcomings in these technologies, says Matt Perkins, Awarepoint CTO. He argues that the orientation of the tag can affect how well it receives or sends ultrasonic or IR transmissions, and that can compromise location data. Some active RFID solutions can provide accuracy within a room but in many cases hospitals have multiple patients located in bays within one room.

Awarepoint provides its aware360 degree RTLS system including software to manage location data that helps improve the efficiency of patient care by tracking when and where patients received what services, based on their location and that of staff. By tracking when a patient was in a specific bed, and when a staff member or piece of equipment was at that specific bed, the hospital could gain data about the patient's care.

The Bed & Bay sensor emits a ZigBee 2.4 GHz signal (compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard) within a predefined zone and captures tag ID's within that zone, which can be as small as 1 foot by 1 foot in size. The sensor, with a sticker on the back for mounting, measures 6.2 by 5.2 inches and is 1.4 inches deep. The device is typically mounted on a wall or a headboard fixed to the wall at each patient's bay, and then plugged into a 120-volt AC wall outlet or a Power Over Ethernet (POE) connection.

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