Asset Wi-Fi for RTLS Growth
How one Florida hospital leveraged asset Wi-Fi RTLS to locate equipment, reduce rental costs and build value for future RTLS expansion
Equipment rental costs were rising and finding equipment was an ongoing challenge at this 480-bed Florida-based hospital. It became very apparent to the team when they were tasked with locating pumps to process for their annual preventative maintenance initiative. There was a large quantity of equipment missing, in addition to rental equipment and equipment that belonged to other hospitals.
While familiar with the benefits they could achieve with real-time locating, hospital leaders knew they wanted to start with a small, cost effective pilot program that they could test, build a base, and expand.
Working with Intelligent InSites, they were able to establish an asset tracking real-time location system (RTLS) deployed over their existing Wi-Fi network. With asset Wi-Fi RTLS, equipment tags transmit a Wi-Fi signal to access points across a facility. The receivers are able to locate the tag, and the location and timestamp data is then processed by InSites’ dynamic and comprehensive business rules engine to create a visual workplace across desktops, tablets and smartphones.
This approach would provide the hospital with a lower cost of entry, a reduced implementation timeline, and would allow them to establish value in the system and then grow organically.
This hospital knew that the technology alone wouldn’t be the only fix. They recognized that the technology, along with a review and adjustments in policies and processes, would be what was needed to make sustainable long-term improvements.
The hospital took a phased approach in deploying their system, starting first with the team responsible for equipment management. Equipment such as wound vacs, bladder scanners and other high-value items were initially tagged to prevent shrinkage. Additionally, all pumps and vital signs monitors, as well as beds and specialty rented beds, received tags for easy locating. Forging a strong relationship with their rental partner meant that they were able to improve rental ordering controls and more effectively process – and locate – equipment coming in and going out.
The hospital continued to add equipment to tag, and within 12-15 months, had reached a critical mass of tagged equipment that they were able to move forward and roll out the system for use by the clinical team. This also aligned with their increased focus on patient and staff satisfaction.
Today, the hospital is tracking over 5,000 pieces of equipment – and growing. Usage of the system continues to expand, so much that you’ll often hear staff say, “how did we manage without it?” Nurses can easily locate equipment important to them, such as wheelchairs and stretchers – which were items they previously struggled to find. Staff can pull up the InSites user interface while at their desks or on their mobile device, making the system easy to use. And they trust the system, knowing that equipment can always be found.
With an accurate inventory of both owned and rented equipment, they have also been able to make smart, proactive decisions affecting procurement and rental expenditures.
“At the end of year one, we saved over $250,000 in rental equipment alone and we are on track to save that or more in year two. The system has more than paid for itself.”
– Senior IT Director
The hospital continues to refine the process and adjust resources, knowing that success of the program is dependent on having the right people, processes and technology come together. With success under their belt, they are now beginning to explore expanding the system to manage patient and staff flow across the hospital.
Learn more about Intelligent InSites software solutions for the healthcare industry.