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New York Medical Center Tracks OR Equipment for Trauma Care

The SUNY system's University Hospital has deployed a Wi-Fi-based RFID solution to track the location of its emergency equipment, as well as the temperatures of drugs and tissue samples in 100 refrigerators, and expects an ROI within one year.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 02, 2009University Hospital, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, is employing a Wi-Fi-based RFID system provided by AeroScout, a Wi-Fi tracking solutions firm based in Redwood City, Calif., to locate equipment at its emergency operative centers. The hospital is also using the system to track temperatures of pharmaceuticals and tissue samples stored in 100 refrigerators.

The hospital, a Level 1 trauma center for central New York State, often has a critical need for fast medical services in its surgical rooms. The facility's operating room (OR) is located in two sections of the hospital, with four surgical rooms for children on the third floor and another 12 for adults on the fifth floor.

Mark Zeman
Equipment is shared between the two areas. Because of the high level of activity and limited space, the hospital also stores equipment, such as specialized operating tables and diagnostic machines, in storage units in its basement. As such, surgeries sometimes had to wait until the proper equipment could be located. "Every second counts in the trauma unit," says Steffan Haithcox, AeroScout's senior director of marketing.

Because of the multiple storage and operating locations, says Mark Zeman, SUNY Upstate's associate administrator of integrated materials and technical support, "it's easy to understand how complex—and yet, how important—it is to have items where they need to be for scheduled procedures, and also for unexpected needs."

Before installing the AeroScout system, with frequent unexpected and urgent needs for equipment, staff members often had to physically search for required equipment. "It is critical," Zeman says, "that we can locate items quickly, and that we have the ability to know where equipment is at all times."

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