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Carolinas HealthCare System Deploying RTLS at Its 20 Hospitals

The organization will attach Wi-Fi based active RFID tags to 5,000 medical devices, to help ensure equipment is properly serviced and available where and when it is needed.
By Beth Bacheldor
CHS started considering various RTLS solutions late last year, says Tuomo Rutanen, Ekahau's VP of business development. Once the organization decided on the Ekahau system, it conducted a pilot early this year at Carolinas Medical Center. Several months ago, Rutanen says, it began rolling out the system to all 20 hospitals. Once the rollout is complete, CHS will track about 5,000 medical devices.

"A lot of these devices are required to go through preventative maintenance," Rutanen explains. "This RTLS gives them the visibility to properly locate and maintain them." Knowing the devices' exact locations also enables CHS to keep the most appropriate inventory on hand to meet the needs of its hospitals, and also saves time for doctors, nurses and other caregivers.

"They'll save time because they won't have to look for things," Rutanen says. "There is a big shortage of health-care workers in this country, and so anything you can do to make their lives—their work—more efficient, that improves care and ultimately accounts for the bottom line."

For now, Rutanen notes, CHS plans to use the RTLS to track medical devices, though the organization is exploring other ways to use the system. One possibility might be to employ tags to track hospital staff during critical processes to help document workflow.

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