Hospitals use a wide range of expensive, highly specialized equipment and devices, such as IV pumps, specialty beds, even wheelchairs and canes, which are always being moved from placed to place. Keeping track of all this equipment and making sure it’s in the right place at the right time – and in the right condition – is extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming for hospital staff.
Wireless RFID technology now allows hospitals to track not only the real-time location of critical equipment, but also the status or condition of the equipment. For example, it is possible to know if an item is in use or idle, or if it has gone through the sterilization process. This eliminates hours of searching and allows clinicians and nursing staff to focus on caring for patients. The Shands hospital at the University of Florida, for example, has experienced a 98.8 percent reduction in the hours spent searching for missing items through the use of wireless technology.
Hospitals are extremely complex and dynamic organizations. Doctors, clinicians, staff, patients and equipment are constantly on the move; hospitals must comply with a range of strict regulations and there are periods of high stress and life-and-death decisions. At the same time, there’s constant pressure on hospital administrators to lower costs while continuing to improve the level of patient care and satisfaction.
In this environment, hospitals are increasingly turning to wireless technologies to operate more efficiently, support patient care and improve the patient experience. Here are some examples, identified by Stanley Healthcare, of how they’re doing this.