en-Gauge and Vizzia are featured in this month's Healthcare Executive Insight:
Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies have become synonymous with tracking hard assets such as infusion pumps and beds in hospital and healthcare facilities.....
Asset Tracking and Emergency Preparedness
Expanding the focus of tracking critical assets from high-value movable medical equipment to other important life safety equipment such as fire extinguishers can also help with emergency preparedness.
When disaster strikes knowing where safety equipment is located and its level of operational readiness is vital. This includes knowing if O2 tanks are full, to the location of evacuation chairs and fire extinguishers-which can be the first line of defense and also the last resort in a fire.
In fact the State of Florida's Hospital Surge Plan, which is designed to assist hospitals in assessing, updating or developing plans for response to a significant surge incident, identifies inventory and tracking of bed availability, staff on site and equipment as being major components of a surge and emergency operations plan (EOP).1
Medical and safety devices such as employee distress medallions, medical oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), IV pumps and many others are being integrated into the RTLS infrastructure providing not only significant ROI through improved process and reduced inventory, but substantially lowered risk and improved life safety.
Broader Applications for Asset Tracking-Safety and Compliance
Asset tracking infrastructure can include multiple technologies and systems. Wireless technologies approved by UL or other listing organizations integrated into leading asset tracking software can give hospital's an unprecedented level of transparency into safety status on the same software used to track pumps and beds.
Attaching sensors to critical safety assets can provide early warning of equipment use and 24x7 on readiness status as well as allow signals to be sent to the right team member at the right time.
Key Asset Tracking Recommendations
Healthcare executives and hospital administrators may find it useful to keep the following points in mind when evaluating RTLS technologies and deploying asset tracking solutions:
- Healthcare executives should think of RTLS technology more broadly and include safety asset monitoring as part of the program
- Hospital leaders should use safety as a key component in the roll out of asset tracking systems to insure cultural adoption of these valuable tracking technologies
- Safety offers not only the opportunity to increase cultural adoption of asset tracking systems, but also can directly address leading code compliance issues (fire safety inspections, O2 tank status, etc.)
- There is no "one size fits all solution." Integration of multiple wireless tracking technologies are needed to address the different needs in a hospital and other healthcare facilities
- Hospitals need listed and approved wireless technologies for mission critical applications such as fire extinguisher monitoring and duress alerts