Medical professionals find themselves relying more on integrated wireless technologies for tasks such as patient monitoring and staff notification to remain productive and provide the best care possible. However, the important work they undertake every day can be complicated by security risks. For example, when a family visits a patient in the hospital, the last news they want to hear is that their loved one has gone missing. And that can be a reality: patient elopement, wandering, and infant abduction are real threats, especially with the number of hospitalized patients on the rise worldwide.
In response to these challenges, healthcare organizations are seeking reliable, flexible security solutions that optimize campus-wide visibility. When medical and operational staff can achieve peace of mind knowing that their facility is safe, then patients and visitors feel secure too. One way hospitals are improving security and patient services is through intelligent, integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) and real-time location systems (RTLS) solutions.
“Beyond helping hospitals provide the best in care and service to their patients, visitors, and staff, RFID and RTLS technology can help boost a hospital’s Press Ganey satisfaction survey score,” says Steve Nibbelink, Global Director, Healthcare Security and RTLS Solutions at Schneider Electric™. “And from a business perspective, typical return on investment for RFID/RTLS projects is estimated at 1 year or less.”
Enhanced security, one of many benefitsThe benefits of RFID and RTLS, including providing healthcare facilities with stronger security, enhanced quality of care, reduced financial waste, high patient satisfaction, and improved productivity, are mainly a result of improved asset and equipment visibility. And when integrated into a healthcare facility’s security, energy, building, and power applications, flexible RFID/RTLS technologies can help healthcare organizations to:
Streamline operations in locating assets, and simplify matching of equipment, patients, and staff with planned procedures Track and monitor assets to right-size medical inventory, improve utilization rates, and prevent theft Enable staff to quickly locate rented equipment and reduce late return fees Provide immediate access to patient, caretaker, visitor, and staff location in case of an adverse event Reduce time spent searching for medical equipment and assets to improve employee efficiency and patient satisfaction
Deploying RFID/RTLS solutions at your facility “Beyond the typical applications to improve patient and staff safety, these technologies can be integrated with other healthcare applications to improve visitor management, optimize use of assets and equipment, protect against theft, and improve operational efficiency and staff productivity,” says Steve Nibbelink.
But before implementing any intelligent RFID/RTLS solution, consider the following four steps to maximize your deployment:
1. Identify key issues and objectives:
Specify the business problem and note key areas for improvement. Then, define goals to help address those issues and gain buy-in throughout the entire organization. Collaboration with different workgroups is essential to developing the best possible solution and implementation.
2. Plan carefully:
Work with Wi-Fi network consultants to perform a comprehensive site survey, conduct Wi-Fi network planning, and analyze the strength of signals and interference to ensure the best installation and optimal use of the system to meet intended goals.
3. Set clear expectations:
Goals and expectations for solution performance and output should be clear. And services from any integrator or vendor involved in the process need to be well documented and agreed upon before deployment to avoid erroneous assumptions during planning, design, and installation phases.
4. Incorporate training:
Provide users with solution training to ensure best system performance, outcome, and thorough understanding of the technology and best practices. This will further enhance the value the solution brings to your healthcare organization.