Frequently Asked Questions
Outside of certain circles, such as healthcare IT and supply chain, terms and acronyms like RTLS, location-based intelligence, and operational intelligence can sound like a whole new language. The common questions (and answers) listed below will help provide some clarity around this terminology.
RTLS is a great source for automatically-collected, real-time data, and it’s an important source of data for our platform and our applications. Some people do consider the phrase “RTLS” as the best description for the applications that are enabled by real-time information, but we prefer to think of RTLS as a technology that provides a source of important real-time data. RTLS is an input into real-time operational intelligence, an input into apps like inventory optimization, shrinkage management, rentals management, clinic workflow, etc. But there are other important inputs as well, including RFID, temperature sensors, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), EHRs, financial systems, building systems, nurse call systems, and medical devices. So while we take in RTLS data, the combination of other systems we integrate to and the data visualization we provide makes us a much better fit as an operational data company.
Intelligent InSites is purely an enterprise, best-of-breed, software company – we do not have any of our own hardware. We work with leading hardware vendors across the country and are able to integrate with any existing hardware you may already have on site, or have the experience to provide recommendations around which hardware solution is the best fit for our facility, your use cases and your budget.
We can work with every RFID and RTLS technology, and we have customers using almost every technology currently available. These technologies include Wi-Fi, ZigBee, infrared, ultrasound, passive RFID, and other proprietary RF technologies. The “who is best” answer depends entirely on your specific use case requirements, your facility, your long-term plans, and your budget. We would be happy to work with you to provide our analysis of each technology as applied to your particular requirements and use cases.
You do not necessarily need RTLS to get started with our solution. Our platform collects data from multiple data sources, and a few of our applications can provide high-impact, value-added information without the need for an RTLS data source.
We identify the impact areas for each of our applications including financial, quality, regulatory compliance, and satisfaction. We’ll identify one or two KPIs for each application and each impact area, then calculate the potential ROI (and whether it’s a hard-dollar ROI or soft dollar ROI), then monitor the KPIs and actual ROI over time. For asset management, the ROI varies by the type and number of assets being tracked (typically, the more assets tracked, the higher the ROI), and hard-dollar time-to-payback can vary between 1 to 3 years. For patient flow, the ROI depends on your current baseline performance. If you are interested in what your ROI might be, please contact us to set up a meeting to discuss your healthcare system’s interests, objectives, current state, and potential opportunities.
In addition to working with any RTLS provider, we integrate with EHRs, nurse call systems, building systems, security systems, equipment management systems, communication systems, mobility solutions, patient transport solutions, medical device connectivity solutions, etc. If we don’t currently integrate with a specific system that your organization has, our enterprise platform architecture makes building new integrations straightforward.
RTLS stands for “real-time location systems,” and includes any solution that provides continuous, real-time location data of tracked items. RTLS requires two components to be valuable: tracking hardware and a compatible software. The hardware consists of battery-powered tags plus an installed sensory network to track the location of those tags. There are many technologies that can (and have) been used for real-time tracking, including Wi-Fi, ZigBee, infrared, ultrasound, Bluetooth, ultra-wideband, and active and passive RFID. The software component takes that data in and visualizes it with list views, map views, dashboards, messaging, and reporting solutions so it can be consumed by users. RTLS is a great source of real-time data, but it’s just one of many real-time, automatically-collected data sources that Intelligent InSites is able to leverage with our platform.
The term RFID became widely known in the early 2000s, given increased adoption in the logistics and retail industries. RFID stands for “radio frequency identification,” and was originally envisioned as a replacement for barcoding. Whereas barcodes require line-of-sight, RFID tags can be picked up as long as they are within range of their passive RFID reader. We consider RFID to be closely related to RTLS. Whereas RFID relies upon RF (radio) waves, RTLS can include any location technology, such as ultrasound or infrared. And even though RFID and RTLS are related, a key distinction is that RFID implementations are NOT real-time – you only know the location of a passive RFID tag when it is “read” by a reader. True RTLS technologies, on the other hand, are proactively and constantly reporting their locations in real-time.
Intelligent InSites licenses the software by application. Each application comes with a corresponding implementation services cost and an annual support and maintenance cost when the software is purchased out of a capital budget. For organizations that would prefer to operationalize the cost, Intelligent InSites offers a monthly subscription model. For more information, or for specific questions, contact InSites sales.
Intelligent InSites is a fully featured RTLS platform that includes multiple ways to visualize RTLS data while leveraging integrations to other systems that maximize the information available to users. Some of these features include real-time list views, map views, and dashboards that show users the movement of tags around their facility. Users also gain access to messaging capabilities that can push important information to defined groups when appropriate. Super users can use reporting and business intelligence tools to view historical data, identify trends in aggregated data, and drill into outliers. New features and functionalities are continuously added with new releases, and those features are offered to existing customers at no additional cost. For more detail about features available, please see the Solutions section of our website.