In 2016, Grace Medical Center implemented an RTLS (Real-Time Location System) to monitor the temperature of the environment in its freezers and refrigerators. In under two months, the deployment had more than paid for itself by the preventing the spoilage of $15, 000 worth of cancer medicine and food. Sensor data from tags within the freezers and fridges sent real-time temperature data to a software platform – allowing hospital staff to monitor any drops or spikes in temperature.
Temperature monitoring is a big deal in the medical and food industries. Loss of assets at scale can set a company back tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. RTLS monitoring with accompanying sensor data has already become affordable with the introduction of Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth 5.0. These systems can track the movement, speed, trajectory, temperature, humidity, and employee-asset interaction of any tagged items. Not only can such a system monitor temperature – it can ensure compliance through tracking interactions and sense if assets are moved without authorization, preventing human error or asset loss.
Grace Medical Center started small, monitoring 18 discrete coolers filled with oncology medications. They employed an RFID solution with RFID readers receiving 900MHz signals sent from the tags. The readers then forwarded the data to the cloud server where the data was interpreted through visuals for easy analytics. These analytics helped them with staffing, patient tracking, and hospital layouts. Other applications of RTLS for Grace Medical Center use the same infrastructure. Intravenous (IV) and Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pumps were tracked to reduce both the time spent searching for equipment and to the amount spent on buying extra units. In addition, key personnel’s interactions with hand-washing stations and work stations were also monitored to ensure compliance and staff efficiency.
Other medical centers have deployed RTLS to track the movements of vulnerable patients. When a patient with dementia or Alzheimer’s wanders through key portals or areas, alerts can be sent to medical staff to ensure the patient is attended safely. Proximity systems, especially beacon-facilitated ones, can reduce wait times and registration times by prompting registration on personal devices, and by alerting patients when it is time to move to other areas of the hospital. IPS (Indoor-Positioning Systems) use the same infrastructure as RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems) and provide accessible wayfinding services and point-of-interest locations to patients, visitors, and staff.
RTLS is non-industry specific.
Proximity detection has potential in all major industries for the monitoring of asset/employee location and environmental sensor data. While Grace Medical Center initially deployed RTLS for temperature monitoring, the technology is capable of so much more.
These systems are more affordable than ever. If you are interested in options for your business, send us an email.