For several years healthcare professionals have used real time location systems (RTLS) to track beds and other high price items. But, a shift in mentality is kick-starting a revolution in asset tracking.
Asset tracking in hospital settings has become an essential element in improving costs and services provided to patients. Whether its environmental monitoring, location tracking or safety management, these institutions are beginning to see the benefits of asset tracking.
5 Top Issues that Healthcare Facilities Face
Hospitals are overloaded with patients and shortened staff. Wait times cause dollars to float out the door and missing equipment puts another strain on the financial stability of these facilities. As a result, hospital personnel have begun seeking out RFID software companies to manage new problems that are arising.
A study conducted by Gartner estimates that 10-20 percent of a hospitals inventory goes missing or is misplaced every year. Furthermore, staff can spend as much as 21 minutes looking for equipment that has been hoarded.
Missing or stolen Equipment
This is one of the most unfortunate circumstances in hospital settings. It is estimated that between $4000 and $5000 worth of equipment goes missing per bed. This means if a hospital houses 300 rooms that is a whopping $1,500,000 worth of equipment that has vanished without any hopes of it returning. For some hospitals, that is $1.5 million they just can’t spare.
The Rise of Hospital Infections
Washing hands is one of the most common ways to reduce contamination and the spread of infections. But, this simple task is often neglected in hospitals by patients and hospital personnel alike. The results are damning: According to the CDC hospital infections make up an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 related deaths each year.
Accurate Patient and Bed Tracking
How efficient are hospitals ER room can be can tell a lot about their operations and patient monitoring? Often time, patients can become jumbled and skipped over by accident. This can cause confusion and anger between hospital staff and the patients they treat. Inadequate tracking can make these questions difficult to answer in many healthcare facilities:
How long has the patient been waiting?
How many beds are available?
Is the next bed available?
Has the patient been discharged?
Where is the patient?
The Lack of Real-Time, Accurate Environmental Monitoring of Pharmaceuticals and other Inventory
While all assets in a hospital are important, others carry more weight due to their sensitive nature and federal mandated requirements. Many Pharmaceuticals require environmental monitoring to ensure their freshness and effectiveness. When a medication that is meant to be housed in a cool and dry area is left in a hot and damp area, several issues can arise. Certain blood tests, stool samples and other laboratory orders require environmental stability to provide accurate results. When systems are inefficient in the maintenance of assets, patients suffer and hospital personnel must retest or reorder inventory and assets.
All of these issues can stunt a healthcare facilities growth and quality care. When healthcare asset tracking is implemented the changes can be instant and long lasting.
4 Ways Asset Tracking Benefits Healthcare Facilities
Patient and Personnel Tracking
Hospitals can be big and winding mazes of people. Know where your personnel are to effectively facilitate patients through their hospital stay. Track patients to ensure patient flow is performing at its best.
Add an extra layer of audit security. With RFID technology there is a figurative paper trail to tie up any loose ends in the case of an audit. Patients and staff are accounted for and, hopefully, the inner workings are running at their peak.
Are hospital personnel washing their hands? With RFID sensors, hospitals are able to track whether doctors and staff are following regulations on hygiene and safety. This technology makes sure everyone is following mandates and policies while reducing the spread of illnesses throughout the facility; which can be life threatening and prolong hospital stays.
Asset tracking and Management: Ends the cycle off Hoarding, Misplacement and Theft of Assets
With active RFID technology, hospitals can effectively track medical carts, crash carts and other assets that can be hoarded or misplaced. Instead of 3-5 personnel scurrying around their floor looking for vital assets they are able to locate the cart and get back to caring for patients.
RFID technology takes the guess work out of locating important and not so important assets. Tracking tags can be added to inventory that inform personnel of items being taken off of hospital property and track assets as they move throughout the facility; providing real-time solutions to misplaced inventory.
Furthermore, tagging and tracking informs hospitals of what they have—don’t have—and what they need to replace. Inventory is accounted for and frivolous spending on assets that are already there, but are just misplaced, stops.
Monitor Nutrition and Pharmaceutical Environments
Several medications require proper temperature control as well as test specimens provided by laboratories. Storage shelves and rooms should be monitored continuously to ensure damage isn’t done to the assets. This technology can alert the appropriate personnel in case of dips and spikes in temperature.
Active-RFID technology helps thousands of healthcare facilities focus on patients, reduce downtimes, decrease spending on medical assets and facilitate patient and personnel safety. As the state of healthcare evolves, so should its use of technology that complements the greater demand put on healthcare personnel to provide quality healthcare.