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Providence Health Center Calls Its RFID System an 'Eye-Opener'

The software has already helped the hospital uncover inefficient processes and better understand its staffing, patient and room needs.
By Beth Bacheldor
Once patients are discharged from the hospital, their rooms need to be cleaned and prepped for subsequent patients. The Prospective Patient Flow Manager documents that a patient has left and the environmental services workers, who wear tagged badges, have arrived to clean the room, explains Mark Sakaniwa, Radianse CEO. The software can be set to alert managers if a worker has not reported to a room in an allotted time frame, and also lets nurses and others, such as in-patient admission staff, easily determine which rooms are available.

Readying rooms as quickly as possible is important for a busy, growing hospital like Providence Health Center, says Alan Carlson, the facility's director of business technology. Its emergency room department alone sees 58,000 patients a year. Sometimes the hospital is so full that admitted patients need to be housed in the emergency room. "We were really looking for something that will help us with our patient-capacity issues, patient turnover, patient throughput and staffing."

In addition to monitoring room status, the RTLS will help the hospital quickly locate patients who may be out of their rooms and being treated at another department, such as radiology.

Also, by studying trends documented by the Prospective Patient Flow Manager, the hospital will be able to more accurately determine staffing levels. So far, the software has helped Providence Health Center uncover some inefficient processes and better understand its staffing, patient and room needs. "This has really been an eye-opener," Carlson says.

The hospital is in the midst of an expansion, and will add the Radianse RTLS to its new five-story building, opening in April, as well as a two-story addition that will include a new radiology wing and a new ER department that will double its current capacity of emergency patient beds from 26 to 52.

Providence is not the only hospital using Radianse's system. In 2004, St. Vincent's Hospital began deploying Radianse hardware and software to track patients and subsequently improve the quality of care, increase revenue and deliver an ROI (see Frees Up Patient Beds).

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