May 28, 2023

Gain the Data to Improve Hospital Operations and Patient Care with IoT-Enabled Location Services

  • By John M,
Gain the Data to Improve Hospital Operations and Patient Care with IoT-Enabled Location Services

Like any other business, healthcare facilities rely on data analysis to make decisions about facility performance, patient happiness, and long-term planning. To obtain the essential information, healthcare companies must collect data from various processes and systems within the building, facility campus, or health system. This entails collecting extensive insights on equipment assets, workflows, patient/staff interactions, and safety compliance. Allowing healthcare professionals to balance their patients’ requirements with the administrative need for manual documentation can be time-consuming and prone to human error.

Real-time location systems (RTLS) use IoT-enabled devices to automate data collection on medical equipment location and usage, as well as staff and patient interactions in a variety of healthcare environments. By gathering valuable data, RTLS can assist facilities in improving compliance reporting, hand hygiene, employee safety and shortages, workflow, and patient throughput.

When RTLS data is integrated with information from other sources like electronic health records and computerized maintenance management systems, an aggregate pool of data is created that may be used across the healthcare enterprise. Administrators obtain a more comprehensive view of everyday operations and assets connected to the patient experience, while healthcare personnel has more time to prioritize patient care. This information can provide relevant insights about asset utilization and clinical workflow, which can assist healthcare facilities and their patients in making various improvements.

Locating Hospital Assets

The time-consuming and error-prone task of manually tracking hospital inventories and monitoring assets can be made more accessible with an RTLS. IoT-enabled tags connected to mobile medical equipment enable a facility with a location system to pinpoint the exact location and condition of essential resources, minimizing the need for time-consuming equipment searches and ensuring that all assets are clean and ready to use. At workstations and on smart devices, employees can view the location of medical equipment remotely.

IoT-enabled badges and tags are used in software applications (part of the RTLS) to automatically generate reports that display the status and availability of equipment as well as interactions between equipment, patients, and employees. In addition, an RTLS solution may automate PAR-level management, ensuring that supplies are reordered when needed.

Infection Control

Another purpose of RTLS is to staff hand hygiene compliance among staff. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1-in-31 hospital patients have at least one HAI on any given day. All hand hygiene compliance opportunities are captured by an RTLS integrated electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system, whereas manual, direct observation captures less than 5% of hand hygiene occurrences among personnel.

Denver Health Medical Center, boosted hand hygiene compliance rates by 75 percent and reduced the spread of preventable diseases by using an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system. As the system captures 100 percent of hand hygiene events by department, role, or individual, the hospital could undergo a comprehensive audit of hygiene procedures to make informed operational changes that would enhance hand hygiene compliance and patient safety.

Optimizing Workflows

When it comes to optimizing workflow management, RTLS provides more than just asset tracking. The IoT-enabled system also supports nurse call automation systems and patient services. For safety and efficiency, knowing where patients and personnel are physically located is essential.

Location systems assist in enhancing processes by leveraging IoT-enabled devices to offer data on patient wait times, monitor patient location within a hospital, and recognize milestones achieved at visits. Using RTLS systems to optimize clinical workflow streamlines facility operations. By improvising the patient experience and streamlining staff communications, facilities can boost HCAHPS scores, improve patient care, ensure better outcomes, and increase staff satisfaction.

Wrapping Up

COVID-19’s intense pressure on healthcare staff, operations, and finances has prompted managers to prioritize easy-to-install technology investments that have been shown to improve patient care, reduce staff workload, and boost satisfaction. It’s easier to expand the system to other sectors of facility operations over time if you choose an RTLS partner with a broad range of solutions. Many healthcare facilities are motivated to enhance their RTLS further and expand the location technology throughout the facility after witnessing the insight provided by IoT-enabled RTLS and enjoying a meaningful return on the initial investment.

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