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RTLS and beyond: Towards full hospital automation

par Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 07, 2021
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: What does this take in terms of technology?
PB: Many of these systems are already up and running so it’s not as difficult to connect them as people might think. From security footage to asset tracking, and staff allocation to billable events related to milestones in terms of patient flow, to pathology specimen process optimization- all of these data streams and more exist. Implementing a system may take a month or two, thereafter process improvement opportunities are truly endless for any hospital.

HCB News: What are the financial implications of this type of automation?

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PB: For any hospital use case ROI can be realized in six to 12 months, while also dramatically improving the patient experience, staff satisfaction, and reorientation around continual improvement.

HCB News: How exactly is that return achieved?
PB: It depends on where the hospital starts the automation—in the ICU? The operating room? Wherever you implement such a system, visibility, efficiency and communication are immediately improved across all hospital functions leading to greater, actionable insights.
One area shown to yield immediate and sizeable savings is in specimen tracking. Mayo published its automated specimen tracking results, which recouped $2 million in labor costs in the first year. This is an important example too, because it touches on the risk of not automating. When medical personnel dispense the wrong medication to the patient, or mistakenly lose or even destroy specimen evidence—all of this has patient life-or-death consequences and massive liability for the organization.
RTLS offers important insights, it’s true. But genuine operational efficiency is contingent on having access to the total picture.

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