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Belgian Hospitals Track Temperatures and Staff

Three Antwerp-area facilities have deployed AeroScout's Wi-Fi RFID tags and software to monitor the temperatures of refrigeration units, as well as the locations of 40 staff members.
By Claire Swedberg
The MobileView software not only issues alerts, but also provides maps, asset information for each cooling unit, and pictures to help users identify specific units. The software can also document the corrective actions taken when an alert is sent, after a staff member responds to that alert and then inputs the results of that response. "This helps considerably with regulatory audits," Verduyn states.

"It isn't uncommon that the doors of the refrigerators and the freezers aren't closed properly, or that we have a power outage," Van Wijnsberghe explains. "By checking up on the temperature, we can react swiftly to these events, and sometimes even save the precious content of the apparatuses."

For AeroScout, the greatest challenge involved setting up a software solution that would ensure alerts would be delivered to the proper individuals, and that the correct remediation processes were in place. For example, if an alert was issued because a cooler became too warm, that alert would need to be forwarded to a specific employee responsible for maintaining that particular refrigerator.

The next step, according to GZA, is the implementation of a Wi-Fi staff-safety system using AeroScout T3 tags in the form of employee ID badges. In this case, workers will wear the badges while on duty, and each tag will regularly transmit its ID number to the Wi-Fi nodes in that area. The ID will be linked to that staff member in the Mobile View software. In that way, the software will display that worker's location in real time, after using triangulation to calculate the tag's location within approximately 10 feet, based on the strength of its signal as received by specific Wi-Fi access points. AeroScout also offers tags with ultrasound technology that could pinpoint a staff member's location within a room, Verduyn says. GZA, however, is not using that option.

If an employee has a problem, such as a patient collapsing, or needs assistance because he or she is being attacked, the worker could press a call button on the badge, thereby sending a call for immediate help, along with that individual's location. According to Van Wijnsberghe, staff members—particularly the emergency unit, as well as nurses who work night shifts—had requested the system.

Yesterday, AeroScout announced that it has seen strong growth in the deployment of its Wi-Fi-based health-care solutions. The company reports that 2009 was a record year for its health-care revenue, while 2010 is expected to outpace last year, with more than 200 orders placed for its health-care solutions in the first half of this year.

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