The Merits of Deploying Indoor Tracking System in Hospitals

By CIOReview | Tuesday, September 6, 2016
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While, the need for medical assistance for the patients remains the prime target of the hospitals; new technologies are being increasingly implemented to deliver better patient care. Toward this, hospitals need to adopt innovative technologies that can manage and track the flow of patients and people. Tracking medical personnel as well as patients and equipments is vital during medical emergencies. Indoor tracking system is implemented in hospitals to provide a door-to-door approach to wayfinding and location services for patients, visitors and staff.

What is an indoor tracking system?

The first and the foremost benefit of using indoor tracking are to locate people or objects inside the building. The objects and people are located using radio waves, magnetic fields, acoustic signals or other sensory information through the use of smartphones or tablets.

Indoor tracking systems in hospitals

In hospitals, the tracking system provides a comprehensive platform for accurately tracking people everywhere through wayfinding and people finding. Wayfinding helps patients find the way to their destination from the moment their vehicle is parked. People finding includes locating friends or family members in an unfamiliar facility, using their Smartphones.

For example, at many large hospitals, the indoor tracking system employs electronic badges to capture GPS coordinates. The device is worn by the nurses during their frequent ward-rounds and visits. Tracking systems are also implemented to ameliorate information on nursing workflows to effectively plan the floor layout, optimize workloads; ultimately improving operational efficiency and patient care. It gives administrators a detailed view including the time spent by nurses with individual patients, and the rounds made through the medical-surgical unit.

The emerging traction of location based systems in healthcare has further introduced technologies like Bluetooth Beacons. Beacons enable hospitals to improve location and proximity awareness through signaling compatible devices such as Bluetooth-enabled Smartphone or tablet. With a short-range signal up to 50 meters, the beacons work entirely on Bluetooth, providing users with more precise indoor navigation to help staff and patients.

In addition, Real-Time location system is an alternative to the GPS allowing users to identify and track locations of assets and patients in real time. It consists of specialized fixed servers or readers receiving wireless signals from small ID budgets or tags. The tags are attached to objects or patients to track the location of the hospital’s residents and medical equipment.

The Key Benefits

• Locating staff

Monitoring staff members during peak hours is a challenging task especially in dynamic environments like healthcare facilities. The issues surrounding patients in hospitals can be addressed using tracking system by locating and designating the nearest staff available for improved patient care, and speedier allocation of resources.

• Business intelligence

Tracking helps in keeping the whereabouts of staff, patients, visitors and assets in real time. It also helps in gaining insights about a healthcare facility’s operations, thus validating the average time for a patient to check in and also keeps account of the maintenance requirements of the equipments.

• Notify and alert staff members

Tracking also helps to notify and alert staff members to maintain equipments, enable safety inspections, disinfection procedures and operational audits. An individual in particular can be notified on any issue rather than announcing to everyone in general. Through localized messages, staff can even be alerted about time to time activities and track the ensuing progress.

• Safety

The hospital is responsible for patient care and well being, which makes it even more challenging for the caregivers. Patients with cognitive disorders, and dementia, require special medical management and should be given utmost importance. Patients moving out or entering restricted area by mistake can be prevented by locating and monitoring them in real-time.

• Emergency response

Tracking plays a vital role in providing assistance during emergency situations. A doctor can be notified immediately about patients in need of any medical assistance during emergency.

• Eliminating operational inefficiencies

Even when it comes to asset management, tracking is the key. It helps in eliminating operational inefficiencies such as breakdowns through frequent monitoring and servicing.  The frequent supervision results in higher quality outcomes for patients, increases flexibility for the staff and improves utilization.

• Preventing theft

Theft and misplacement of equipment stock in hospitals leads to huge loss of costs and revenue. Keeping track of the equipment further prevents the chances of theft and in fact, leads to better identification of equipment if it is misplaced.

• Handling recalls

During recalls, the staff in the hospital should track down the defective equipment and refrain from further use unless it is repaired or replaced. Indoor tracking system allows staff to seamlessly locate and stop the accidental usage of equipment. The positivity involves reducing liability while avoiding overall risk.

The future of indoor tracking system is buoyant with greater adoption of the technology across varies sectors. Organizations across various domains such as postal, military and courier services are also leveraging the use of indoor tracking system to gain better visibility and accuracy in their daily operations.  The adoption of indoor tracking system is expected to surge by 2018 with more customizable location-based solutions on the drawing board taking shape and fostering faster customer adoption.