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Sharp Chula Vista Uses RTLS to Locate Patients, Manage Beds
The San Diego hospital is using the technology to help employees find patients in real time, as well as alert housekeeping when a patient has been discharged, signaling that a bed is ready for cleaning.
Jul 26, 2016—
California's Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, located approximately 15 miles south of San Diego, is employing a real-time location system (RTLS) and patient-management software supplied by TeleTracking Technologies to monitor patients' locations. Since the system was taken live in September 2015, management reports that it has enabled the hospital to increase bed throughput by issuing alerts to its housekeeping staff when patients leave, and to help personnel and visitors quickly locate patients in real time.
Sharp Chula Vista's parent organization, Sharp HealthCare, initially launched TeleTracking's patient-flow software in 2013 at all of its hospitals, and at some outpatient clinics. Subsequently, the company implemented an RTLS to locate some high-demand or high-value assets at most of its facilities. Sharp is using the Chula Vista hospital as its patient-tracking pilot project, before deploying the technology throughout its health-care facilities.
With TeleTracking software, the hospital already admits each patient and automatically assigns him a room, as well as health-care providers. For the addition of the equipment-tracking RTLS solution, TeleTracking provided CenTrak with tags that were attached to beds and other assets. A CenTrak tag has a sensor for receiving an IR signal transmitted by a battery-powered CenTrak beacon installed within the vicinity, enabling it to identify the tag's location. The tag then forwards its own unique ID number, as well as that of the beacon, via a 900 MHz signal to a Power-over-Ethernet (POE) collector that acts as a gateway, collecting the data and forwarding it to the hospital's server, explains John Cutshall, TeleTracking's RTLS project manager.
Sharp Chula Vista is now providing each patient with a CenTrak wristband at the time of his admission. First, the individual's name is entered into the TeleTracking patient-flow software, and a room and health-care provider are then assigned to that individual. Staff members scan the wristband's bar code, thereby linking the tag's unique ID number with the patient's medical records. The bracelet itself contains only an ID, while the patient's name and records are stored in the software.
As the individual then moves around the hospital, his tag captures the IDs transmitted by any beacons that he passes. The tag forwards that data to the software, which determines that person's location. That can include, for instance, when he enters the radiology department, as well as the CT scan area within radiology, as long as a beacon is installed at that location. When he goes to his room, the system will capture that information as well.
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