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How RFID tracking technology can elevate inpatient hospital care, enhance safety, and reduce costs

23 August 2021 by Add Energy

Hospitals are complex facilities where decisions often must be made in a time-sensitive, pressurized environment. Tracking the movement and whereabouts of patients, staff, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment can become a difficult task which can influence the health outcomes of patients, overall productivity, and efficiency of hospital procedures.

Clinical mobility technology is proven to elevate patient care by empowering clinicians and enhancing workflows with 96% of hospitals planning to expand the usage of location technology to track patients more effectively by 2022. These technologies, when properly coordinated, can help provide real-time intelligence about any condition change, movement, or deviation in patients, treatments and critical hospital assets.

Using mobile RFID technology and management of change software within a busy hospital environment is one solution that can enrich medical professionals’ knowledge, communication, and effectiveness through tracking, monitoring, and managing critical assets, processes and people in the most efficient and effective way possible.

In this blog, our asset tracking and change management specialists discuss how and where this solution can be used successfully based on common challenges associated with managing assets and processes, and communicates the direct benefits of using RFID technology in this environment.

Tracking and monitoring inpatients’ care throughout their hospital stay

Connecting the right patients to their required treatment safely and efficiently is a key priority for medical professionals but when inpatients go through up to 24 staff handovers over the course of an average hospital stay, this can lead to confusing communications breakdowns and delayed treatments that then impact the quality of their care, in particular for time bound diagnosis and critical treatment, such as patients suffering from a stroke.

Tracking a patient’s journey throughout their treatment stages allows professionals to quickly visualize their real time location, dwell time in different hospital departments, treatment rooms and patient rooms, and their physical progress from when they arrive at the hospital to when they are discharged. The best method for tracking and monitoring patients is through flexible, adjustable, RFID tagged wrist bands that are secured with an adhesive tab. The bands are linked with a unique patient identification code that can be scanned with a handheld mobile device, immediately providing the individual’s medical records.

In addition to this, utilizing RFID patient location tracking can also provide the following benefits:

  • Elevated patient care delivery coordination across the hospital
  • Improved visibility to changing/updating circumstances and deteriorating patient conditions
  • Accelerated diagnosis and treatment times
  • Greater staff productivity and hospital operational efficiency
  • Improved bed turnover rates
  • Increased clinician-patient interaction time
  • Strengthened clinical integration amongst all functional teams and disciplines

Optimizing patient flow

A common problem that most hospitals face is overcrowding which leads to treatment delays. Unfortunately, when treatment is delayed this can have a knock-on effect, causing higher mortality rates, longer hospital stays, increased hospital readmissions and bottlenecks in patient flow.

When a patient’s RFID tagged wristband is scanned by a clinician, their individual data will be instantly available through the mobile device, allowing hospital staff to monitor their treatment progress and make quick decisions to prioritize patients with critical needs. This efficient method of prioritization then accelerates the pace of patients receiving treatment, leading to them being discharged sooner, therefore reducing the patient bottleneck and improving bed turnover to free up valuable treatment time and resources to treat more patients and ensure adequate prioritization is given to critically unwell patients.

Improved safety of at-risk patients

Hospitals have a duty of care to provide a safe, secure environment to all patients, especially for vulnerable groups such as infants or the elderly. Real time location tracking can help eliminate risks such as injuries due to falls, patient wandering and missing children as staff are alerted when a patient’s movements exceed defined thresholds or wards.

Tracking, monitoring and management of critical medical equipment

Having full visibility of the location of critical assets such as infusion pumps, heart monitors, wheelchairs, and even blood transfusion bags, is essential so that they are available and correctly assigned when they are needed most. By RFID tagging and tracking critical assets, it also allows hospitals to know what equipment they have, the exact locations of the equipment and when more is required, which can then inform purchasing decisions and avoid wasted expenditure or risk of equipment inaccessibility or safety of patients.

It is also beneficial to track the maintenance procedures of critical assets to ensure that the correct maintenance is performed on the right equipment, at the right time to avoid reliability issues, delays in patient treatment and avoid unproductive down time. This data can be accessed through scanning the tag attached to equipment such as MRIs or X-ray machines to instantly gain accurate, up-to-date information.

Asset maintenance tracking allows for budget expenditure to be tracked effectively and opportunities to rationalize spend and accurately forecast maintenance budgets.

Improved workforce efficiency and visibility

Effective clinical mobility technology implementation improves the visibility of workforce utilization and efficiency through tracking and monitoring adherence to contracts, job planning processes and programmed activity delivery. This increased visibility can minimize the need for expensive agency resources by creating an understanding of trends in resource requirements, resulting in more informed recruitment decisions.

Work management optimization tactics can also be identified, leading to improved visibility and transparency of costs and a deeper understanding of the impact of activities relating to Cost Improvement Plans (CIP).

Tracking hospital staff members’ physical locations through RFID tagging strengthens both care delivery coordination and staff collaboration because their exact location can be found when they are required for critical advice or patient care. Workflow efficiency is also improved as real-time, customizable alerts, notifications, and analytics enable informed decisions and help clinicians focus their attention on the most critical patients with the highest prioritized activities.

Introducing AssetVoice™: An RFID asset tracking and management of change software solution

Add Energy has developed a unique solution that will optimize resources for enhanced direct patient care and management of medical facilities by utilizing RFID technology and our award-winning management of change software, AssetVoice™.

AssetVoice™ digitalizes processes and tracks, monitors, and manages assets, processes and people in the most effective way possible to rationalize costs, unlock efficiencies, and maximize available resources across the healthcare industry.

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By registering your interest, you can: 

  • Speak to one of our experts to learn more about AssetVoice™ 
  • Receive ongoing insights and advice around asset tracking and management of change initiatives 
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