How to Use RTLS to Improve Resource and Staff Management

Real-Time Intelligence in Healthcare Moves from Nice-to-Have to Must-Have

Using RTLS (real-time location systems) to improve resource and staff management can optimize productivity and patient care.

In healthcare, seconds matter, and real-time knowledge on the whereabouts and associated activity of staff, clinicians, patients and assets can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

To improve service delivery and efficiency, hospitals today are increasingly taking advantage of growing connectivity and the Internet of Things. In particular, organizations are deploying indoor positioning services to address issues involving workflow efficiency and staff and patient safety. A recent survey, conducted by Zebra about the future of healthcare, found 83 percent of respondents are expanding their use of RTLS to enable dynamic staff workflows - particularly with the ability to track mobile medical devices and equipment and to locate staff.

A large health system in southwestern Connecticut, for instance, uses Sonitor SenseTM ultrasound-based RTLS technology to gather valuable data about patient, staff and asset movement over a very large hospital footprint. Another healthcare network located in Baltimore, MD, meanwhile, deployed the same RTLS technology in their behavioral health department to provide staff with real-time duress technology and wearables from Sonitor that provide a level of security that cannot be matched by centrally located panic buttons.

Enhance Safety and Care Efficiency with Indoor Positioning

The benefits of using indoor positioning technology are significant. The ability to track assets and staff in real time helps providers dramatically reduce costs by enabling more efficient deployment of available resources as experienced by a Fargo, ND-based Sonitor client. Indoor positioning technology has also been shown to improve patient safety in several ways, including patient monitoring and provider hygiene, according to an article published in the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics. In a study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital also reported that RTLS was able to accurately measure patient ambulation (the ability to walk from place to place independently, with or without assistance. This kind of data derived from RTLS could help to more efficiently track patient progress during a lengthy recovery process.

Real-time information in healthcare has the potential to transform how organizations work. Senior healthcare leaders are realizing how this data can impact staff and patient satisfaction, safety and efficiency. The best and brightest are moving fast to prioritize the implementation of indoor positioning technology. The positive impact to care delivery as well as to the bottom line has been proven and cannot come fast enough.

Considering a real-time location system (RTLS)? Technology matters.

Considering a real-time location system (RTLS)? Technology matters. As recently reported in the DOTMed article “Ultrasound Versus IR: Making decisions about real-time location systems,” one size of RTLS technology does not fit all. Here’s a more in-depth primer of infrared technology vs. ultrasound – two prominent technologies utilized in the healthcare RTLS and indoor positioning space today.

While there are multiple applications for radio frequency (RF) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in a traditional RTLS application like asset management - and frequently an infrared-based system or an ultrasound-based system will augment coverage by using complementary technologies - the purpose here is to demonstrate the indisputable facts, rooted in physics, about light (infrared) vs. sound (ultrasound) in the healthcare environment. Here are the points to consider.

Infrared (IR)

  • Since IR is dependent on light, it can be affected by materials that interact with light. For example, IR passes through glass, therefore, light-masking materials, like blinds, need to be applied to glass partitions, windows, doors, etc. which can be onerous in modern hospital design.
  • Fluorescent light can affect the accuracy of IR.
  • Light reflection from floors and in-room monitors can be problematic.
  • Many transmission and blocking devices are required to achieve bay-level accuracy due to the need to control the light signals.
  • Lithium batteries in the infrastructure, while long-lasting, are significantly more expensive than alkaline and require expensive disposal procedures due to their environmental impact. Lithium batteries can also be a safety hazard due to the volatile and flammable chemical compounds that are pressurized inside battery cells.
  • Location resolution of IR can be measured to within a few feet.
  • Installation, testing, certification and maintenance of an IR-based RTLS can be labor-intensive due to the number of transmission devices required. Consider the example below:
    • An ambulatory recovery room with four bays separated by curtains would require as many as fourteen location devices to deliver bay-level accuracy due to the need to create “zones,” to control the light and ensure line-of-sight which directly affects accuracy (see figure 1).
    • Once installed, transmitters need to be constantly monitored and tuned or adjusted in order to optimize performance and deliver the specified accuracy primarily due to the challenges of containing and managing the properties of light. This can require a significant amount of resources to manage. One IR-based system installed at large, multi-facility healthcare system in North Carolina (500+ beds) requires more than ten full-time personnel to manage optimization of the RTLS system as well as routine tag and transmitter maintenance (tag assignments and battery replacements).

Ultrasound

  • Sound can be easily contained – even in glass enclosures. Think of sound-proof recording studios mostly constructed of glass. Light passes through. Sound does not.
  • No physical masking or blocking of ultrasound signals are required to make the system work.
  • Fewer devices are required to deliver bay level accuracy. Each ultrasound transmission device can create up to four distinct zones vs. only one zone per IR-based location transmitter.
  • Standard 1.5V D-cell alkaline batteries are more economical and easier to recycle reducing the environmental impact. The lower power consumption due to the physics of ultrasound allow for extended battery life.
  • Sound has near perfect reflection so there are no propagation issues in buildings.
  • Resolution of ultrasound can be measured to within a few inches.
  • Installation, testing, certification and maintenance of an ultrasound-based RTLS can be described as “set it and forget it.” Monitoring for accuracy is minimal and the need to make adjustments is rare. Consider the example below:
    • An ambulatory recovery room with four bays separated by curtains would require three location transmitters. Each transmitter can facilitate the creation of four distinct bays (see figure 2).
    • Once installed, tested and certified, transmitters are set and require little-to-no monitoring or adjustments. No re-tuning or optimization is needed. One ultrasound-based RTLS installed in a large, mid-western, multi-facility healthcare system (500+ beds) requires less than two full time employees to manage. The majority of the employees’ time is spent on routine tag and transmitter maintenance (assigning tags/badges and replacing batteries).

Conclusion

RTLS programs require thoughtful investment to implement. The value of having RTLS, however, cannot be overstated in terms of meaningful improvements in quality, patient satisfaction, compliance, workflow, infection control and more. The amount of time it takes to recoup an investment in technology is always top-of-mind. When considering an RTLS, technology platform decisions matter - especially with regard to accuracy, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance which all contribute to cost-of-ownership and speed of return on investment.

  Figure 1 – Infrared Location Transmitter Configuration example

Figure 1 – Infrared Location Transmitter Configuration example

  Figure 2 – Ultrasound Location Transmitter Configuration example

Figure 2 – Ultrasound Location Transmitter Configuration example

What is an Indoor Positioning System (IPS)?

lyra-silouette.png

Indoor positioning systems can be simply described as GPS on steroids but used indoors for the purpose of locating and directing people and things. Using smart mobile devices, active asset tags or wearables, beacons transmit location data to smartphones, tags or wearables. The beacons report the device location data which is then accessed in a variety of ways including via cloud-based application program interfaces (API), mobile apps, integrated CRM software, etc. IPS technologies include ultrasound, radio frequency (RF), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth low energy (BLE). Most IPS providers use a combination of technologies based on the degree of granularity of the location data required for the application. Ultrasound delivers the highest level of granularity from room to bay, bed and chair level accuracy and reliability. IPS is used in healthcare, manufacturing, smart warehouses, data centers, hospitality, education, and other industries for the purpose of maximizing workflow efficiency, safety, wayfinding, and inventory and asset control and has been proven to deliver significant return on investment (ROI).

What is a Real Time Location System (RTLS)?

What is RTLS Blog Post Image.png

RTLS or indoor positioning systems (IPS) can be simply described as GPS on steroids but used indoors for the purpose of tracking, locating and monitoring the activity of people and things. With RTLS technology, location data is received from devices (location transmitters) attached to ceilings or walls and transmitted via Wi-Fi through active asset tags for equipment and wearables for people (tags, badges). The location data is then accessed in a variety of ways including via cloud-based application program interfaces (API), mobile apps, integrated CRM software, etc. Locating technologies include ultrasound, radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth low energy (BLE). Most RTLS providers use a combination of technologies based on the granularity of the location data required for the application. Ultrasound delivers the highest level of granularity from room to bay, bed and chair level accuracy and reliability. RTLS is used in healthcare, manufacturing, smart warehouses, hospitality, education, and other industries for the purpose of maximizing workflow efficiency, safety, wayfinding, and inventory and asset control and has been proven to deliver significant return on investment (ROI).

Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 6 of 6)

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the last in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.

Improve Outcomes and Efficiencies with Faster, Quieter Patient Interactions 

Reducing doctor wait times on the phone, decreasing patient request response times by staff and improving communications between staff members, doctors and patients significantly improves patient throughput and satisfaction which positively impacts overall financial outcomes. With RTLS, it can all be done silently, unobtrusively, automatically and in the background. Reduction in nurse station phone alarms from doctors searching for staff or equipment and elimination of nurse call audible alarms via the RTLS-enabled nurse call technology contribute to the quiet-hospital trend that has shown improvement in patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Conclusion

RTLS is already demonstrating a dramatic impact in the clinical setting where patient satisfaction, staff efficiency, equipment tracking accuracy and safety for all constituents are imperatives. Allowing responding caregivers to immediately address the clinical needs of patients supports better patient and caregiver interactions and outcomes. The technology also supports compliance with statutory requirements and improves ease of logging and reporting. RTLS is enabling nurse call functionality to achieve new levels of efficiency and compliance leading to an ultimately superior level of patient care which directly impacts a health care facility’s bottom line.

Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 5 of 6)

Six Ways Photo Part 5.jpg

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the fifth in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.

Increase safety of staff and patients

Unfortunately, the incidence of health care workplace violence is on the rise. Most assaults on health care workers are by patients or visitors.(1) More than 70% of emergency nurses reported physical or verbal assaults by emergency patients or visitors.(2) RTLS has enhanced staff safety across the board by enabling a duress button on the RTLS tag or badge worn by hospital staff and patients. When pressed, an alert is triggered and the precise location of the wearer is immediately visible to security staff to affect an urgent response. The benefits of incorporating a RTLS-enabled duress application in the nurse call environment are clear: increased sense of staff safety and security reduces turnover and increases staff satisfaction, patients have an increased sense of security enhancing overall satisfaction and, importantly, hospital reputation is protected and liability is reduced. The general morale in the facility is improved when staff – and patients – feel they are safe. This feature has been sought after and embraced by healthcare institutions as they continue to develop workplace violence strategies and solutions.

(1) “Workplace Safety and Health in the Health Care and Social Assistance Industry” by Jill A. Janocha and Ryan T. Smith, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010.

(2) “Nothing Changes, Nobody Cares: Understanding the Experience of Emergency Nurses Physically or Verbally Assaulted While Providing Care,” Lisa A. Wolf, PHD, RN, CEN, FAEN; Altair M. Delao, MPG; Cydne Perhats, MPH, 2014.

Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 4 of 6)

doctor-test.jpg

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the fourth in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.


Instant communication of patient and equipment locations


RTLS effectively eliminates the frustration and wasted time when nursing staff cannot locate a piece of equipment or a patient. It also dramatically decreases the inefficiencies and wait time when patients are being transported for tests as well as when equipment is being moved or stored. Patients often are transported by clinical staff to various locations in a clinical setting every day. RTLS enables caregivers to pinpoint the location of a patient or equipment in real-time down to the chair level. The value of this information for nursing staff cannot be overstated. Numerous efficiencies can be achieved, and easily measured, when nurses are not forced to search for people or equipment.


Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 3 of 6)

istock-519924930.jpg

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the third in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.


Increase patient satisfaction


Since the advent of the Affordable Care Act and HCAHPS scoring, healthcare facilities must meet or exceed certain patient satisfaction scores to receive the highest level of fee reimbursements. New “fee for outcomes” models have encouraged innovations in patient communication tools used to provide feedback to caregivers. Nurse call technology has benefitted from these advances since it is a primary patient communication tool and can have a positive or negative influence on a patient’s satisfaction level. Technology innovators have answered the need to provide immediate patient input by delivering the latest in RTLS technology. Patient response times are measured in real time providing invaluable data for patients, their families and staff. The best nursing departments are in a constant state of process improvement to ensure – and increase – patient satisfaction. Forward thinking healthcare institutions are coming to understand the importance of using advanced RTLS technology.


Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 2 of 6)

istock-539166137.jpg

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the second in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.


Reduce miles walked and phone time


Herman Miller Healthcare commissioned a study which showed that nurses walk up to four miles during a typical shift.1 A great deal of that effort is due to the constant search for people and equipment. With ultrasound-based RTLS, precise locations of both down to the chair level are at the nurse’s fingertips via a workstation portal or even via a mobile app on a hand-held device. Nurses spend dramatically less time searching for people and things and more time delivering care.

(1) “Measuring How Far Nurses Walk,” HermanMiller Healthcare, 2017.


Beyond Nurse Call: A Six-Part Series About How RTLS is Revolutionizing Traditional Caregiver Interactions (Part 1 of 6)

nurses-with-patient-blurred.jpg

Nurse call management software has become increasingly sophisticated enabling modern nurse call systems, which were previously manual, to become fully automated through an array of advanced applications.

Among the most important backbone technologies supporting these systems is Real Time Location System (RTLS). Integrating RTLS offers numerous advantages and opportunities to improve efficiencies and patient satisfaction, collect key data and positively impact outcomes. The following is the first in a multi-part series describing six ways connected intelligence derived from Real Time Location Systems data is revolutionizing traditional caregiver interactions.


Enhance Nurse Call Interactions


When a patient presses the nurse call button for assistance, the nurse’s focus is on attending to the patient’s needs vs. pressing the call cancel button which could be difficult to reach depending on the bed location and equipment around it. Additionally, manual nurse call cancellation challenges the ability to accurately report on patient visits and responses to nurse call requests as well as complaints such as “I pressed the button and nobody showed up” if a caregiver forgets to manually log the visit. With RTLS, nurse calls are cancelled automatically as soon as the nurse enters the room. This provides instant, verifiable reporting and eliminates the need for the nurse to perform sometimes heroic physical feats which may be required to find and press a hard-to-reach call button. Automated call cancellation has been shown to improve patient and staff satisfaction at numerous facilities who have integrated RTLS into their nurse call systems. Automated nurse call cancellation is a simple technological innovation that is reaping big rewards among hospitals who have made the move to automate nurse call interactions using RTLS.


How Ultrasound Based RTLS is Fueling Innovation for Today’s Senior Care Communities

sonitor-blog.jpg

The accommodations of modern senior care communities are designed to appeal to adults and seniors with a wide range of abilities and interests. To help ensure the best possible care is provided to this diverse population, skilled nursing facilities and their staff assist residents in rehabilitation after knee or hip replacements, strokes, traumatic injuries, neurological conditions, or other health setbacks. In addition, facilities are increasingly dedicated to providing family members relevant information about their loved ones.

What sets forward-looking institutions apart is their emphasis on continuous improvement, including a willingness to adopt new technologies to inform and drive that process. To retain current residents, attract new ones, and drive return on investment, long-term care industries must constantly explore innovative ways to achieve the most effective and efficient care models possible.

To this end, one of the exciting and innovative technologies that many facilities have recently adopted is a Real-Time Location System (RTLS).

Meeting real needs in real time

In the past, RTLS was associated primarily with locating equipment and managing assets. With the advent of increasingly reliable and accurate RTLS performance, application of this technology has expanded to include even more substantial care-related uses such as patient/resident monitoring, safety and security measures, staff workflow applications, and time-stamped visibility and understanding of specific milestones in the care process.

RTLS solutions provide data-based insights that are necessary to align staff levels to cyclical needs, manage resources more efficiently, and attain the maximum patient/resident satisfaction through fast response and attention to individual needs. The most advanced of these RTLS solutions are built on ultrasound indoor positioning technology that delivers precise and immediate location and event-based information for any tagged object or badged individual.

Wireless tag and receiver technology provides indoor positioning accuracy (to specific chairs, beds, rooms, or area levels) by seamlessly transmitting and communicating location data to front end visualization and reporting software platforms.

The data generated by these systems allows healthcare facilities to make informed decisions regarding equipment location and staffing levels throughout assisted living facilities that are best suited to deliver a higher level and quality of care. It also yields important insights into many other factors which have tremendous influence on patient and resident health, safety, and satisfaction.

Better aligning staff levels

Before institutions can effectively implement any staffing changes, they need to understand work flow and patterns throughout their facilities.

RTLS can deliver the necessary data to help institutions identify staff patterns by time-stamping personnel related events and locations to triage the durations of their various tasks, among other things. In these ways, such technology provides real-time answers to vital questions including:

  • What daily events cause peaks and valleys in staffing needs?
  • Which staffing levels are required for routine activities such as bathing and meals?
  • How is patient/resident satisfaction impacted by staff capacity?
  • How are staff levels balanced based on when staff is most often with residents (time of day, day of week, etc.)?
  • What are staff response times and the frequency of visits?

With the data provided by integrated RTLS installations, staff and management of assisted living and long-term care facilities can gain valuable insights about workflow, including where additional staffing and equipment is required, and when staff response times are lagging so that they can put actions in place that will benefit both staff and patients/residents.

These insights not only allow them to optimize staffing, increase institutional efficiency and return on investment, but above all help increase staff responsiveness, resident care, and patient safety.

Ensuring resident health and safety

Indoor ultrasound positioning technologies provide immediate and measurable improvements to patient care in many ways. Many benefits can be derived from the analysis of data obtained from such systems, these can include giving staff the ability to call for assistance without leaving a resident’s side, allowing caregivers to quickly view performance metrics, and limiting the impact of outbreaks of flu or other illnesses by monitoring interactions between residents and caregivers.

RTLS can also provide discrete and flexible solutions to assist with situations that are potentially harmful to patients/residents such as patient wandering and access to unauthorized or sensitive areas. Real-time indoor positioning systems help locate individuals who have wandered or entered unauthorized areas by immediately and accurately pinpointing their exact location. This provides institutions the confidence they need to discretely keep patients safe without compromising freedom of movement.

RTLS can contribute to the prevention of any abuse and neglect conditions. Reliable room-level and sub-room level location technology accurately detects residents, staff, visitors, vendors and equipment within the rooms of the facility, which can provide necessary enabling information for security and safety.

Maintaining stakeholder relationships

Naturally, family members take a keen interest in the level and quality of care provided. Recognizing and honoring that, assisted living and long-term care facilities must focus on improving ways to understand the level of care each resident receives and to share that information with family members.

Since RTLS automatically provides specific, time-stamped data associated with unique resident locations and/or tags, the information is always readily available and can be clearly conveyed through reports including visual representations. This enables care providers to produce detailed logs of caregiver attendance and other care metrics to share with family members as well as regulatory agencies.

Satisfaction and consumer ratings

The increased visibility of this information not only delivers peace of mind to family members, but also gives directors and staff the confidence to know that through their hard work and attentiveness they are delivering the best care they can.

Perhaps most important in terms of resident (and family) satisfaction is the potential for RTLS to help improve response times when a resident calls for staff, given that the efficiency of RTLS systems can “create” more time for staff by driving operational efficiencies. So much of a facility’s consumer ratings hinge on this single factor and now assisted living and long term care have a powerful technology for measureable improvement. The reputation of a facility often rests on this, and attracting and retaining residents is key to a financially viable business.

Anne Bugge is the president and CEO at Sonitor Technologies Inc. Sandra Rasmussen is the senior vice president, Global Marketing and American Sales, at Sonitor Technologies.

Staffing Appropriately

sonitor-blog-02.jpg

Need Help Optimizing ED Staffing? Read This

Emergency Departments (EDs) are by far one of the trickiest departments to staff due to unpredictable variability in patient and staff acuity. From asset tracking to patient flow and work flow, the impact real time location systems (RTLS) can have on the ED has far-reaching implications hospital-wide. The role of RTLS in the ED continues to expand and is playing an increasingly important role in the effective and efficient staffing of emergency medical personnel.

RTLS has been a valuable emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but today, RTLS is playing an increasingly important role in improving healthcare workflow, efficiency, and productivity.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could pull census data from the system to reveal patterns of dips and spikes in staffing needs? Or if your nurses and clinicians could be automatically assigned to patients based on their proximity to them? Imagine if your facility could manage new patient placement by balancing area-specific acuity and workload? Or if your facility could pinpoint when and where delays occur and if they are a frequent occurrence? Imagine if your ED could identify and notify staff of exposure to communicable diseases, based upon their tracked interactions with patients – that without RTLS would be next to impossible to track – and replace those staff members with another that has less of a work load and patients to tend to as identified by your RTLS software?

With Sonitor® Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the necessary insights allowing them to staff efficiently and effectively based on data that is gathered in real-time. Through this greater visibility administrators can make more informed decisions on where and when to staff, your ED can avoid sending a high-risk patient to an area already overloaded, and staffing decisions can be made to avoid patient visit delays and/or staff work overload.

By applying Sonitor RTLS tags to your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you can provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of staff efficiency and productivity throughout the ED.

Sonitor’s RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and schedule your staff in real time.

Sonitor ‘s RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, knowing where a patient or a piece of equipment is in real time helps your ED anticipate and effectively plan work and schedule staff efficiently. With greater visibility into the status of patient rooms, operating rooms, and your overall ED—based on the movement of patients, staff, and equipment—more efficient scheduling can be realized, enabling quick turnover, optimizing throughput, improving patient flow, and ultimately increasing patient satisfaction.

Communication and Patient Satisfaction

istock_88869843_small.jpg

How Can RTLS Help You Communicate More Effectively to Improve Patient Satisfaction?

One of the most influencing factors driving patient satisfaction is communication. Three of the four measures RAND Corporation arrived at to assess a patient’s experience in the ED dealt with communication. By being able to provide accurate, reliable real-time location data through RTLS (real time location systems), a patient’s family can be better informed about the patient’s whereabouts and status, having a major influence on patient experience and satisfaction.

Imagine if your ED staff could know when a patient has been sent away from their room/bay for testing and where in the hospital they are physically located. Or imagine if your staff could tell a relative exactly where a patient is if they are not in their room and, with accuracy, how long they’ve been away. Imagine if you could immediately and in real time be notified exactly when a patient is entering a room and notify the appropriate doctors that the patient is ready to be seen. Or, if your staff could know and be notified that it is their turn in the process to visit the patient. Imagine the wasted minutes and hours searching and waiting for patients or staff that could be eliminated if your facility was communicating these critically important pieces of patient information.

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to inform concerned family members on the whereabouts of their family member in real time, share their progress in real time, and avoid miscommunications which can negatively impact a patient’s, and their family’s experience. By using Sonitor® RTLS to monitor and locate your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you arm your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview patient progression throughout the ED.

Sonitor Sense™ RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your patients and communicate important information in real time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, communication and patient satisfaction are greatly increased limiting the amount of wasted time and negative experiences for your patients and staff. Sonitor Sense RTLS can help improve communication and patient satisfaction in the ED by equipping computers in visitor areas with real time location data that can be used by hospital staff to update a patient’s loved ones on their whereabouts. It can share the progress of the patient in real time, avoiding miscommunications that can send family members to an empty room. RTLS can help your facility provide an overall impression of efficiency, ultimately leading to greater patient satisfaction across the scale.

Faster Room Turnover

istock_23512785_small.jpg

How Can RTLS Increase Your ED’s Room Turnover?

Patient wait times in the ED can play a key role in patient satisfaction and the quality of care delivered. Based on insights that RTLS (real time location system) analytics can enable, saving just one minute of a nurse’s time per patient per day over the course of one year, could translate into the necessary time for an LPN to care for several hundred more patients. This means more patients entering your facility, and thus greater return on investment (ROI).

Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to increasing your facility’s room turnover rate.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your EVS staff could automatically and in real time be notified that a room is ready for cleaning? Or if your staff could speed up even the most basic of tasks, such as cleaning and preparing the patient room or bay between patients? Or if at the push of a button, your staff can inform the facility that a patient has been discharged and a bed is ready and prepped for the next patient?

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’—it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to reduce patient wait times by having faster room turnover rates, having a direct, positive impact on staff workflow and staffing levels. By using Sonitor® RTLS tags to locate and monitor patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, real time bed or bay-level status information.

By leveraging RTLS, basic tasks such as cleaning and prepping rooms or bays between patients can be accelerated and as a result, room turnover can be significantly sped up throughout your facility. Specific staff that have been assigned to bed turnover are easily informed, via immediate notification through RTLS (once a patient’s badge is dropped off), that their bed is vacant. Such notifications allow EDs to fill empty beds faster, improving productivity and increasing revenue, which is linked to greater patient satisfaction and higher quality care.

Sonitor Sense RTLS can help reduce the time patients spend waiting by identifying vacant rooms and reducing delays, allowing more time for patient care and potentially shortening their time in the ED. By providing your facility with greater visibility, your staff and patients progress through their perioperative journey and key clinical milestones as fast and thorough as possible—ultimately allowing your facility to confidently do more with less.

Optimizing Throughput

istock_57862172_small.jpg

How Can RTLS Help Your ED Run at Peak Performance?

We know today’s ED  can be faced with so many diverse challenges. Whether it’s accelerating and optimizing patient flow and throughput, improving and optimizing staff workflow and productivity, maximizing and optimizing resource and spatial capacity, or improving overall patient and financial outcomes, these challenges can impact staff morale, patient satisfaction and the bottom line. As a result, facilities  need solutions that deliver efficiencies and help contain growth in medical cost while still delivering consistent high-quality care. Your facility could be facing one or more of these challenges, and we have the solution – RTLS.

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) have been a valuable, emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to optimizing throughput.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could minimize crucial minutes  wasted looking for other members of staff, patients, or equipment? Or if your facility could analyze when and where delays occur, and distinguish between delays that are a frequent or a rare occurrence? Imagine if all this data could be accessed by other departments so that inter-department communication and collaboration could be seamlessly accelerated? Or if your facility’s ED could evaluate and monitor in real time the effectiveness of proposed and implemented changes and performance initiatives?

With Sonitor® Sense ™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’—it’s possible. Real Time Location Systems are providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to avoid wasting money on one-off problems and deploy resources (such as additional staff) more appropriately. By tagging mobile medical equipment (beds, wheel chairs, IV pumps, etc.) and providing patients and staff with RTLS badges,  your emergency medical staff will have instant, real time access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of workflow efficiency to best optimize throughput.

As a result, facilities can easily draw from the detailed data real time locating systems gather to help inform meaningful, long-term changes to the facility layout, patient flow, and overall workflow performance. ED’s can proactively manage staff scheduling and equipment locations. RTLS can even gauge whether delays within the ED are anomalies or consistent inefficiencies; and being able to distinguish between what is common and what is not is imperative to avoid wasting money and critical patient face-time, thus allowing staff to work proactively rather than playing catch-up.

RTLS can help EDs monitor the effectiveness of a facility’s implemented changes. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) states that, “project-specific data collected during the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) process to test small-scale process improvements … is one of the most effective levers for achieving and sustaining process improvements.” To distinguish between which initiatives are proving to be successful and which are consuming staff time and energy can help executives make the right decisions regarding ED operations and ultimately deliver improved staff morale, higher patient satisfaction and an increase to the bottom line.

Improving Patient Flow

istock_32726002_small.jpg

How Can RTLS Benefit the Emergency Department (ED)?

Patient flow measures, including but not limited to, arrival to departure for admitted and discharged patients, decision to admit, door-to-diagnostic evaluation, and “left before being seen”—will soon be among the various clinical quality measures of EDs. In other words, your facility will soon be, if it is not already, reporting ED measures to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These measures are directly tied to hospital reimbursement and can significantly impact patient satisfaction.

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) have been a valuable, emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to improving patient flow.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could eliminate wasted minutes and hours searching and waiting for patients? Or if your staff could automatically be notified that it’s their turn in the process to visit the patient?  Imagine if you could know and be notified exactly when that patient is entering a room? Or if you could immediately and in real time be notified that the patient is now ready for a doctor? Or that the patient is not in their room/bay but has been sent for an MRI and where in the hospital they are physically located? Imagine being able to tell a relative exactly where the patient is if they are not in their room and with accuracy how long they’ve been away.

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible.  Real Time Location Systems are providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to accelerate patient flow and shorten patient wait times, without affecting clinical quality, thus improving patient satisfaction. By applying Sonitor® RTLS tags to your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you essentially provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of patient flow efficiency.

Sonitor Sense RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your patients in real time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, patient flow can easily be monitored and optimized. This can help move patients through the ED more efficiently and ensure that the right patients, staff, and equipment are in the right location at the right time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS can help reduce the time spent searching for patients, staff and equipment, allowing more time for patient care and potentially shortening their time in the ED. These benefits can directly impact patient flow metrics helping to ultimately improve the clinical quality measures of EDs that need to be reported to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

It's Budgeting Season, Do You Know Where Your Assets Are?

istock_91910263_small.jpg

With budget season upon us, you and your staff are hard at work putting together your facility’s needs. Decisions on where to invest need to be made. Wouldn’t it be great if your team could provide you with:

  • Utilization data & statistics of all your mobile medical equipment
  • Exact inventory levels in real time
  • Rental vs. owned equipment requirements
  • Equipment downtime

Sonitor Sense ™ RTLS Helps You Manage Your Assets with Ease

Sonitor’s Sense RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data.

Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your assets in real time. You can be confident that your technology will be efficient, flexible, scalable, and have an easy deployment. Ultimately, you will witness a proven low cost of ownership over your products life cycle.