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Location-based technologies: not just for asset tracking anymore

By Julie Thomas, BSN, RN

Patients' risk of having a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) was 16 percent lower in 2015 than in 2011, according to a study from the CDC, noting that the reduction may reflect an uptake of infection-prevention practices.

While HAIs are preventable with the right plan in place, many facilities still struggle to arm themselves with the newest, most effective set of solutions. Recent research shows that neglecting to utilize available technologies might be why some facilities are falling behind, positing that the slow adoption of electronic surveillance methods has the potential to hinder an organization’s HAI prevention efforts.
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Many don’t recognize that solutions powered by Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technology can provide healthcare organizations with a complete arsenal in the battle against HAIs, and not just support asset-tracking initiatives.

Addressing hand hygiene compliance
Healthcare organizations can monitor hand hygiene compliance and noncompliance events without error using RTLS-based solutions, increasing infection control through enterprise location services. Additionally, hand hygiene compliance monitoring utilizing RTLS technology can be accomplished 24/7, creating a more effective and sustainable data collection method. This method provides analysis and reporting features; thus, facilities can focus their IP education and retraining where it is most needed.

Durability: A key feature of infection control

Waterproof RTLS tags present an opportunity for healthcare organizations to ensure proper disinfection and minimize the spread of HAIs from patient or asset to other people or materials. By integrating submersible tags into a larger RTLS solution, facilities can incorporate patient health and safety into the very operations and infrastructure of an organization.

Tags designed without seams, screw holes or crevices minimize areas where bacteria can grow and thrive. Waterproof tags are able to go through an extensive sterilization process without getting damaged, a capability that enables cost efficiency and promotes a cleaner, safer healthcare environment.

Regulating environments, managing risk
Different areas of hospitals have unique temperature and environmental requirements, and if not monitored properly, bacteria and viruses may have an opportunity to grow. RTLS-based compliance monitoring systems measure the conditions of certain environments automatically, without the need for staff to manually record. This reduces the risk of human error and protects assets around the clock that could be expensive to replace or dangerous if contaminated.
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