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Memorial Sloan Kettering Facility Uses RTLS to Monitor Patient Recovery

The Josie Robertson Surgery Center, newly opened in December, is using the system to track patients, their families and health-care providers, ensuring that patients are treated efficiently and are back on their feet after surgery.
By Claire Swedberg

The patient's family members or other caregivers are also each provided with badges, thereby allowing those individuals to move freely around the facility—to visit the café, for example—and still remain accessible in case a physician or nurse needs to speak with them. Staff members can simply access the software, input a particular patient's name and look up the location of that individual's family members on the premises.

A total of 39 "Glance-and-Go" electronic status boards were installed in staff areas, where health-care providers can view real-time status updates based on specific patients' locations. Those status boards display surgery schedules, as well as how long a patient has waited or remained alone. They also indicate when an operating room or bed has become available and is ready for cleaning and reuse.

Memorial Sloan Kettering's Daniel Stein
The Versus software forwards RTLS-based data to the facility's Epic OpTime software, which eliminates the need for personnel to manually enter the time at which surgery and other procedures begin and end. With the data from the Epic software and RTLS deployment displayed on a single centralized screen, employees can identify how quickly a post-operative patient is meeting recovery goals. The system tracks more than just which department a patient is in following an operation—it can also identify when that individual has gotten back on her feet and how much she has moved on her own, thereby indicating her recovery status.

Before opening its doors in December, Stein says, JRSC planned and tested the Versus system exhaustively. To simulate the workflow, the clinic physically practiced the movement of patients through their surgical experience, from when they arrive at the facility and receive their RTLS badges through the entire process, until when they are discharged and return the badges. "Along the way," he states, "we made sure that the views configured within the RTLS system would meaningfully portray these various stages of the process."

JRSC encountered a few challenges, Stein reports, including training its staff to wear the RTLS badge and make it part of their daily habit. The center is still finding ways to make best use of the copious amount of data provided by the system, he adds.

"We have not had adequate time, at this point, to formally evaluate the impact this has had on our workflow or outcomes," Stein says, "but we are optimistic, based on anecdotal evidence, that the system has played a role in enhancing care and team coordination at the facility."

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