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Joint Health Clinic Aims to Boost Efficiency, Satisfaction Via RTLS

Joint Implant Surgeons of Florida is using a real-time location system provided by Solstice Medical and Ekahau to improve appointment scheduling and flow, enabling the clinic to serve patients with fewer delays.
By Claire Swedberg

In the clinic's injection area, a staff member presses the button on the patient's badge upon injecting that person with medication. The Solstice software collects that data to determine the number of injections completed daily—in this way providing information necessary to predict the amount of medication that needs to be prepared for a typical day.

The Solstice software also tracks how long a physician or physician's assistant spends with a patient, thereby enabling the clinic to track the amount of time that patients wait for a health-care provider, as well as how long that provider spends with each patient, and how long specific procedures take to complete. By tracking such information, Humbert says, she is able to determine, for example, which staff members may be more efficient at a specific procedure, and thus would be the best person to train other newly hired personnel.

Ekahau's Mark Norris

"It also helps us revise and optimize the order of our clinical schedule," Humbert says, "which is made up of different types of appointments, such as new patient, existing patient, MRI results consultation, injection or post-op—which all have different average cycle times," since the data helps determine how long each type of appointment takes.

Humbert says she can also use data collected by the RTLS solution to determine the number of rooms to assign to a specific doctor, based on the amount of time that patients wait in those rooms. For example, she notes, the facility could reduce the number of rooms per physician in order to decrease the time patients spend at the facility. In addition, the clinic can utilize the RTLS data to keep patients better informed. If it becomes evident that a delay is occurring, for example, the staff can announce this status to those still waiting, enabling them to step away for a cup of coffee.

"We've always been extremely good at providing high-volume [service]," Humbert states. However, she says, the RTLS solution has helped the clinic improve on that efficiency.

In some cases, to create greater granularity, several IR location beacons were installed within a single room to help the clinic pinpoint a patient's location—identifying even in which chair an individual may be sitting, thereby allowing the staff to know what stage of the visit he or she has reached.

"Of the installation," Sands reports, "I would say, personally, the startup and implementation phase was pretty seamless. This is unique application, and the potential is pretty significant."

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