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.