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RTLS data across the healthcare enterprise

May 06, 2021
Business Affairs Health IT
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Often hospitals and other healthcare facilities rely on staff to manually maintain PAR levels for mobile medical equipment and essential supplies. Manual PAR level management, however, often involves using intuition or current stock levels to make ordering decisions. It is prone to human error and uses significant staff time that could be better leveraged somewhere else.

On the other hand, by incorporating RTLS solutions into PAR-level processes, healthcare systems gain access to invaluable usage data that provides a more accurate account of current and future needs. Automated PAR-level inventory management solutions generate reports that show which assets are needed at what locations and how often, along with asset movement and history.

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This provides administrators with better insights into equipment utilization, which improves ordering accuracy, supports better planning, and reduces costs. For example, Wake Forest Baptist Health saves more than $5 million per year using asset management solutions to streamline inventory and avoid purchasing or renting redundant equipment.

In addition, these systems can alert staff if the minimum quantity of a given asset is reached, triggering a request to restock. This ensures that medical devices critical to patient care are readily available when and where they are needed. It also reduces the likelihood of over or under ordering equipment, thus helping to avoid the costs associated with rush orders and unnecessary procurement.

Hand hygiene monitoring for compliance
Over the last year, COVID-19 has increased interest in RTLS applications related to infection control, as they had already been shown to effectively reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Prior to the pandemic, infection preventionists (IPs) and other healthcare leaders around the world were using RTLS to monitor differential air pressure in ORs and isolation units and improve rates of hand hygiene compliance.

Electronic hand hygiene solutions automate the monitoring of handwashing events using sensors attached to dispensers, canisters, pumps, and sinks. These sensors identify opportunities when a hand hygiene event should occur and then record staff compliance with the organization’s infection prevention protocols. Hand hygiene compliance rules are customizable to capture specific hand hygiene events, such as when a staff member enters and exists the patient room.

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