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Grace Medical Center Uses ZulaFly RTLS to Prevent Food, Medication Loss

The system, which utilizes CenTrak sensors and access points to capture temperature readings within each of 18 coolers, has already prevented the spoilage of $15,000 worth of food in a walk-in refrigerator since its installation in August.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 02, 2016

Grace Medical Center, a 123-bed hospital that is part of the Grace Health System, reports that two months after installing a real-time location system (RTLS) to monitor the temperatures of its refrigerators and freezers, it has achieved a return on its investment by preventing the spoilage of a cooler filled with $15,000 worth of food. The solution, provided by ZulaFly, consists of the company's own cloud-hosted Fuzion software platform to capture data from CenTrak RFID temperature sensors. Grace Health System can view the collected temperature data in real time, as well as for analytics purposes, according to Stephanie Andersen, a ZulaFly managing partner.

Located in Lubbock Texas, Grace Medical Center receives approximately 11,000 patient visits annually and has a total of 980 admissions. A year ago, the hospital launched an oncology unit that requires its high-value chemotherapy drugs to be stored at specific temperatures. Nearly half a million dollars' worth of those medications are kept cool within two refrigeration units, says Christopher Winn, Grace Health System's director of business development and purchasing.

ZulaFly installed a battery-powered CenTrak temperature sensor tag on each cooler's exterior, configured to transmit temperature readings every five minutes.
Temperature control has always been a priority for the hospital, Winn says, but until recently, staff members checked those units' temperatures manually, writing down the details and identifying any fluctuations that could damage the contents. The hospital's managers were interested in RTLS technology, he adds, and how it could be used to monitor temperatures, as well as assets and hand hygiene. Given the high value of the facility's oncology drugs, management decided to first try using an RTLS solution to monitor the coolers, and to later consider an installation to track high-value assets. "We thought we would start with the most critical part," Winn states, "which was temperature monitoring."

ZulaFly managing partner Stephanie Andersen
In late August 2016, ZulaFly installed the solution within a total of 18 individual coolers, located in the medical center's oncology unit, hospital pharmacy, retail pharmacy, laboratory, OR and dietary area. The company mounted a battery-powered CenTrak temperature sensor tag to each cooler's exterior, configured to transmit temperature readings every five minutes. Placed inside each unit is a temperature probe housed in a small bottle filled with propylene glycol and wired to the tag.

In a large walk-in refrigerator located in the dietary area, ZulaFly installed two CenTrak temperature sensors, each with its own probe, in order to monitor fluctuations in the front and back of the unit. It also deployed CenTrak Star network access points, which receive the 900 MHz signals emitted by the sensors and forward that data, via an Ethernet connection, to CenTrak's server, which then interprets the location and temperature data and uploads it to the Fuzion software.


Brian Ray 2016-12-20 03:36:58 PM
The combination of RFID data systems with Bluetooth or other sensor technologies is an easy win for providers investing in RFID. www.AirFinder.com is an example of a system that works with generic Bluetooth technologies.

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