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Denver Health Adopting a Hospital-Wide RTLS System

Based on the success of a pilot project, the organization plans to apply Wi-Fi-based RFID tags to 2,700 pieces of equipment and study new ways to use its real-time locating system to improve processes and its bottom line.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 29, 2007For the past 14 months, Denver Health has been using an RFID-based real-time location system (RTLS) to track vital medical equipment at its Women's and Children's Pavilion, a facility that the 500-bed teaching hospital opened in August 2006. Now, the organization is expanding the RTLS to cover the entire hospital—an area encompassing 1.5 million square feet.

The hospital is employing InnerWireless' Wi-Fi-based RTLS technology, which the company acquired when it merged with PanGo Networks in March. Now known as Vision, the RTLS solution is a Wi-Fi-based system that incorporates VisionOS Platform middleware, along with Vision V3 2.4 GHz active RFID tags that comply with the 802.11b and 802.11g Wi-Fi standards. The middleware aggregates the location data and unique ID numbers culled from the RFID tags, as well as the hospital's Wi-Fi access points, and passes that information onto the asset-tracking software, which the hospital can then access to obtain real-time asset visibility, alerts and reports.

Denver Health originally opted to use a Wi-Fi-based RTLS largely because it wanted to leverage an existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network with 300 access points (see RFID Sees Gains in Health Care). The system's track record, however, is the impetus behind the expansion, according to Jeff Pelot, Denver Health's chief technology officer. "Considering the positive results we were experiencing at the Women and Children's Pavilion," Pelot says, "we decided to expand Vision throughout the hospital."

At present, the hospital is in the midst of increasing its supply of medical devices—such as infusion pumps, wheelchairs and wound vacuums—from just several hundred pieces of equipment to 2,700. Pelot says the medical facility is still identifying the types of equipment it will track.

Knowing the location of specific equipment, in real time, has enabled Denver Health to improve its workflow. "Clinicians and staff aren't spending as much time searching for misplaced items or looking for a piece of equipment that needs maintenance," Pelot states. "They can focus on attending to a patient's needs, and we also can monitor maintenance and repairs, ensuring equipment continues to perform safely."

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