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PAR-Level RTLS Solution Saves Costs at Oregon Hospital

Sacred Heart Medical Center at River Bend is using a real-time location system from Versus Technology to track the PAR levels of assets, enabling the facility to ensure that equipment is always on hand where needed.
By Claire Swedberg
To accomplish this goal, the hospital collected data pertaining to pump movements, and thus determined what the PAR level should be within each area of the hospital in which pumps are used (for example, the minimum number of pumps could be 15 for one area, but eight in another). The RTLS solution helped hospital management to evaluate pump usage throughout the facility, in order to determine the number of pumps required for each unit. Buchsteiner then provided that data to Versus Technology, which created a PAR-level management and alerting system in the Versus Advantages RTLS software residing on PeaceHealth's back-end database. The PAR-level system was taken live in April 2011.

With the RFID system in place, every pump has a Versus tag attached to it. The tag's infrared chip transmits a unique ID number that is received by an infrared sensor within its range. The tag's RFID chip—which transmits at 433 MHz using a proprietary air-interface protocol—provides a signal with a broad read range that (unlike infrared) can penetrate walls. The RFID functionality is used for redundancy, explains Tom Ott, Versus Technology's regional director, the IR technology being the primary source for location data. The hospital knows, in real time, where each piece of equipment is located within a room—or, in some cases, at the bed level. As tagged pumps are moved around the hospital, the software is updated based on the location data, and can thereby determine if inventory has reached PAR levels within each specific unit, or if it is at risk of dropping below PAR, thus necessitating that the engineering staff round up unused equipment and bring it to the central location for that particular unit.

The software can then not only issue alerts via e-mail, text message or phone call, but also display a full listing of the asset levels of each individual unit and facility-wide. Additionally, the software can display the PAR level and critical low levels (a predetermined minimum at which equipment must be immediately replaced) for comparison purposes.

"My biggest surprise has been the accuracy of the system," Buchsteiner states. "We were concerned whether the [Versus] network would catch everything. I was overwhelmed by how accurate it is. We had about 700 pumps, and we came up with about 699. The accuracy was amazing."

Buchsteiner's return-on-investment (ROI) study has found that the hospital saved $600,000 almost immediately, by avoiding the cost of equipment leasing and purchasing, with a projected savings of $2.7 million over a 10-year period for the infusion pumps alone.

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