by David Dennis
, Contributing Reporter | February 01, 2017
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
• After a disease outbreak, hospitals could use the RTLS to manage the response by identifying any staff who had been in contact with specific patients or who had entered the contaminated area.
• RTLS reporting could track nurse rounding, automatically generating compliance reports about rounding frequency and time spent at the bedside.
• RTLS systems could also produce exception reports flagging any departures from hand hygiene protocol, thus aiding overall patient safety and infection control efforts.
• Asset distribution reporting could not only locate a missing asset, but identify utilization by facility, department, unit or floor. This information could be used to optimize the storage and/or sharing of specific assets.
• Insights into patient satisfaction could be uncovered by comparing patient satisfaction scores with a review of nurse and physician response time (via RTLS tracking).
• RTLS can help improve turnover times by immediately alerting staff about the completion of bed sanitation.
• By linking RTLS technology to rules-based software, hospitals could automatically assign an ED nurse to a patient if the clinician spends more than a certain amount of time in a room, alerting the ED system at the same time.
Some RTLS companies have worked with decision-makers during the construction of new hospitals to implement innovative patient-and caregiver-facing tracking technology. In one hospital, the patient’s family can now follow the progress of their loved one virtually as he or she moves through various clinical spaces, including the OR. This RTLS-enabled technology is intended to improve patient satisfaction by addressing widespread complaints about communication, transparency and wait times, which can be monitored by staff informed by the same location technology.
This information about an individual’s progress can do more, however, than just mollify a specific caregiver or nip an excessive wait time in the bud. By submitting a large set of these time-stamped paths to analysis, the hospital could achieve broad process improvements by revealing persistent bottlenecks, identifying the units with the smoothest transitions and uncovering unexpected trends in patient flow. Indeed, as one RTLS product manager has reported, RTLS users who have applied analytics to specific units have improved patient flow, increased capacity (in the emergency department, in this case) and made important strides in the coordination of surgical care.