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Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Adopts RTLS that Tracks Infants, Assets and Environmental Conditions

The Canadian facility has deployed Stanley Healthcare's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags and MobileView software platform, which also manages asset locations and records temperature and humidity levels within the OR.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 10, 2014

Collingwood General & Marine Hospital, located in Collingwood, Ontario, has recently completed a deployment of Stanley Healthcare's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags, enabling it to monitor not only infants' movements throughout its building and parking areas, but also asset locations and environmental conditions. All three functions are tied together and managed by Stanley Healthcare's AeroScout MobileView software. For the previous dozen or so years, Collingwood had employed an older version of Stanley Healthcare's Hugs infant-tracking system, which can identify an infant's unauthorized removal from the maternal childcare unit, and thus issue an alert. Its shortcomings, though—primarily its inability to track a child once he or she leaves that unit—had led the hospital to switch to the Wi-Fi-based RFID tags.

The new generation of Stanley Healthcare's Hugs infant ankle band incorporates a Wi-Fi RFID tag.
Collingwood Hospital has 72 beds, five of which are located in the obstetrics unit, which delivers an average of 500 babies annually. In 2002, the hospital installed its first Hugs system—(provided by VeriChip, which Stanley acquired in 2008 (see Stanley Bolsters RFID Portfolio With VeriChip Subsidiary)—to manage the movements of infants. This initial deployment consisted of RFID readers and battery-powered tags that employed a proprietary Hugs RFID protocol. The hospital had installed Hugs readers within the obstetrics unit, but not in the remainder of the building or in the parking areas—leaving a total of 15,000 square feet without any coverage. The obstetrics unit contains three exits (one of which is a stairwell), and the hospital wanted not only to know where babies were located if they passed through those exits, but also, when possible, to have the ability to close and lock doors to prevent the unauthorized removal of any child.

In February of this year, the hospital began seeking an expanded solution to improve infant tracking, as well as to locate assets and monitor environmental conditions. "Staff were often frustrated that they could not find wheelchairs in a timely manner," says Michael Lacroix, Collingwood General's CFO and corporate services VP, "and we would often receive requests for more wheelchairs as a result." Consequently, he notes, the hospital performed an inventory count. "We realized that we had enough wheelchairs to support the demand with the hospital—we just needed a better way of tracking them."

Additionally, Lacroix says, the hospital sought a method of automatically capturing and recording temperature and humidity levels within its operating rooms. The new system would thus replace an existing manual process that was time-consuming and error-prone.

Stanley Healthcare's Steve Elder
In June 2013, the hospital installed a new technology being beta-tested by Stanley, known as Hugs Wi-Fi. Stanley developed the Wi-Fi-based solution to make it affordable for a customer to track tags throughout an entire facility, rather than merely within a few limited areas in which that customer could afford to install readers. "Since most hospitals have Wi-Fi throughout the facility, it is possible to monitor infants anywhere in the hospital, even in the parking garage," says Steve Elder, Stanley Healthcare's senior marketing manager. "The ability to see the infant everywhere also has major benefits when it comes to responding to an abduction attempt."

The Hugs Wi-Fi solution includes Stanley Healthcare's MobileView software platform, a Web-based application that can be provided on a hosted server or on the hospital's own back-end system, and be accessed remotely. "This helps significantly with workflow," Elder states, "since nurses no longer need to return to the nurse station to perform software tasks." Instead, he says, they can simply access the data via any PC, laptop or tablet.

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