4 Ways To Improve Your Healthcare Facility Using Real-Time Tracking Technologies

Your midwives are struggling to find incubators for newborn babies; your wards are being fined for lost hospital beds; your medicines are expiring before clinicians know they need to be used. When it comes to healthcare facilities, the cost of lost efficiencies can be life-changing.

This blog will explore four ways RTLS technologies can improve your healthcare facility, preventing day-to-day disruption while generating insights to inform decision-makers better.

Specifically, we will look at examples of how RTLS solutions can be used to:

1) Manage Infection Control

2) Monitor Assets In Real Time

3) Improve Site Security

4) Automate Replenishments

What Is Real-Time Tracking Technology?

Real-time tracking technologies, or real-time location systems (RTLS), can be used to track the positioning and performance of your assets in real-time.

One way this can be done is by using smart tagging technologies (like RFID tags) to digitise assets – like people, products, or high-value equipment. As smart tags pass through sensors around your facility, they provide central systems with their whereabouts and usage information.

At a high level, applications include:

  • Inventory & Asset Tracking: RFID technologies are widely used for asset and inventory tracking, as they can communicate wirelessly with readers placed strategically around facility chokepoints.
  • Fleet Tracking & Navigation: Within fleets, RTLS solutions can track vehicle locations, monitor speeds, optimise routes, schedule jobs, aid navigation and even analyse driver efficiency.
  • Workforce Tracking: This can sound a little dystopian, but monitoring the whereabouts and activity of your workforce means keeping employees safe, compliant, and informed with the correct information at any point in time.
  • Mobile Security & Connectivity: RTLS technologies can enable business leaders to set location, user and role-based policies to protect data and optimise connectivity for agile workers.

Within healthcare facilities, RTLS solutions have been used for the following…

Infection Control

St. John’s Hospital has implemented a low-cost RTLS solution to provide real-time alarms to increase hand hygiene compliance during opportune moments in an open-layout ICU (Intensive Care Unit). This significantly improved hand sanitation, enabling management to identify target areas for improvement and making critical times throughout the day when sanitation practices lulled visibly.

Monitor Assets In Real-Time

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust have implemented RTLS technologies to track hospital beds and medical devices. By tagging each piece of equipment using an active RFID tag, central databases can show where each asset was last ‘seen’ by the system, and hospitals can improve maintenance efficiency, patient safety and compliance.

Improve Site Security

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust implemented RFID wristbands to reduce patient identification errors in surgery. This RTLS solution links smart wristbands to patient records so that clinicians can immediately access accurate patient-centric data when fixed or mobile readers scan them. Heartland’s NHS Trust can feel reassured that they are not at risk of litigation from operations conducted on the wrong person due to mistaken identity. They have also elevated patient experiences and made it easier to manage ‘who’ and ‘where’ within their wards.

Automate Replenishments

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (CUH) implemented RTLS technologies to create RFID-tagged patient-specific tote boxes to prevent theatre staff from overstocking and having to report stock usage manually. As a result, CUH reduced their store rooms from three rooms to just one while bringing their cost-per-case down by around 5%. Transactional activities were automated in some places, leading to a 69% drop in manual purchase orders across the theatre’s directorate.

Trusted Experts In RTLS Solution

These solutions are well within reach for NHS and private trusts across the entirety of the UK. MiTEQ would love to work with you on digitising workflows and improving your facilities’ management.

Between the team, we have several decades’ worth of experience working both within and alongside the NHS, utilising close-working relationships with the likes of Zebra Technologies, Kinsetsu, Servelec and Imprivata to deliver modern mobility solutions to those at the forefront of care provision. 

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