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Asset Tracking Underway at WakeMed Cary Hospital

The multi-facility operator launches an RFID system at its Cary hospital, with plans to expand to Raleigh and other locations.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 29, 2008WakeMed Health & Hospitals is deploying an RFID-based system employing technology from RadarFind to track assets in its two-story, 114-bed facility in Cary, N.C. The system automatically monitors the location of assets, alerting the staff if an asset ends up in the wrong spot.

Once WakeMed installs the system this summer, the medical center intends to use it to better manage assets and ensure they are cleaned and serviced for reuse in a timely manner. WakeMed has also agreed to allow RadarFind to test product enhancements at the Cary facility in the future.

WakeMed, which operates numerous facilities in Raleigh and other North Carolina cities, has been seeking an RFID solution for two years, according to Mary Schilder, the organization's director of information services consulting. "We identified, through information systems and corporate strategy planning, that we wanted to look at RFID for tracking and locating assets," Schilder says. "We like to go after the latest applications that current technology offers." WakeMed chose to begin with an RFID tracking system at its Cary facility, which is considerably smaller than WakeMed Raleigh Campus, to provide a manageably sized initial deployment.

WakeMed Cary's nursing and clinical staff regularly spend an exhaustive amount of time searching for such patient-care devices as infusion pumps, stretchers, telemetry monitors and wheelchairs. What's more, there is often a delay before used devices are cleaned and prepared for reuse, simply because the staff is unaware they are no longer in use.

WakeMed selected the RadarFind solution, Schilder explains, in part because it required very little time to install. Rather than having to add wiring to the patient rooms to connect the readers to the back-end system, the RadarFind interrogators plug directly into an outlet and wirelessly transmit the collected tag data. "With this product," she states, "we didn't have to interrupt patient care." As part of the decision-making process, Schilder visited Wayne Memorial Hospital, in Goldsboro, N.C., which already had the RadarFind system installed (see N.C. Hospital Looks to RadarFind to Improve Asset Visibility.

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