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Community Hospital Finds RFID Is a Good Fit

Wayne HealthCare uses the technology to lower the cost of managing IT assets and improve patient services.
By Lauren S. Roman
Aug 07, 2016

Wayne HealthCare is a 100-bed hospital that has been serving the Greenville, Ohio, community for nearly 100 years. The facility employs more than 175 doctors, nurses and clinicians and has a 400-person support staff and hundreds of volunteers. But with a seven-person IT department, Wayne HealthCare had to outsource its annual inventory of IT assets, including computers, monitors, printers, networking equipment and peripherals. The inventory is required as part of a systems security audit. Each year, it took four contracted workers three days to inventory the 3,400-plus IT assets spread across the six buildings comprising the Greenville campus.

In 2013, Shelton Monger, Wayne HealthCare's chief information and corporate compliance officer, began looking for a way to reduce the time and cost of conducting the inventory counts. Having spent 28 years in the U.S. Air Force, in both active and contract duty, during which RFID was widely used for asset management, Monger was quite familiar with the technology and its benefits. Based on his Air Force experience, he was confident that using RFID to manage the hospital's IT assets would deliver a quick return on investment. As a member of the hospital's senior leadership team, he had budget control and the autonomy to allocate funds for the deployment.

Wayne HealthCare is lowering the cost of managing its IT assets with RFID, as well as improving its patient services.
In 2014, Wayne HealthCare deployed an RFID asset-management solution. The project delivered an ROI within a year—and that inspired Monger to consider how the technology could improve other hospital operations. One area in which he thought RFID could have an impact was on patient care. Wayne HealthCare's five-to-one patient-nurse ratio reflects its strong commitment to patient satisfaction.

The hospital performs approximately 10 surgeries daily in its Ambulatory Care Center, though on some days it can perform more than 20 procedures. Family members or friends typically remain in the waiting room while a procedure is taking place, and they frequently ask the one staff member who manages the waiting room about their loved ones' status.

The hospital installed a console in the waiting room that displays patient status.
Monger knew that keeping family members informed was very important to patient satisfaction, but it was difficult for one person to obtain frequent updates—whether a patient was waiting for a procedure to begin, was in an operating room or had been moved to the recovery room—and respond in a timely manner. The hospital required a more effective way to communicate patient status to loved ones.

In 2015, Wayne HealthCare implemented an RFID patient-tracking system. "Keeping patients informed is part of our commitment to excellence in the patient experience" Monger says.

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