RFID and RTLS technology is making big gains in healthcare. New solutions entering the market give healthcare providers the ability to operate more efficiently, control healthcare costs and improve patient care and safety.
This week Intelligent InSites was selected to provide a software solution for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The five-year, $543 million contract will provide Real Time Location System (RTLS) services for millions of assets at 152 VA medical centers. Intelligent InSites will work as a subcontractor to HP Enterprise Services.
Other recent healthcare news includes the unveiling of the 2013 Intelligent Hospital Awards, and a new iPad solution from ODIN that allows hospitals to automate the inspection process for radiation apparel like vests and aprons. Burlington Medical Supplies has shipped more than 40,000 RFID-enabled radiation vests and is embedding RFID in vests at the point of manufacture.
The VA contract will provide 152 medical centers in the 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) and seven Consolidated Medical Outpatient Pharmacy facilities with a real-time, system-wide solution to help improve operational efficiency, quality, satisfaction and compliance. The solution supports VA’s objectives to decrease operational costs, reduce delays in patient care and increase clinical efficiencies and staff productivity.
“The flexibility of the Intelligent InSites platform, including its ability to empower multiple applications to deliver real-time operational intelligence across multiple use cases and multiple facilities, supports VA’s vision to improve health care efficiency across the VA enterprise,” says Kimberly Brayley, Director of the RTLS Project Management Office, Veterans Health Administration.
By automatically collecting data from millions of RTLS and RFID tags on VA medical equipment, surgical instruments and supplies, the Intelligent InSites solution will provide VA with unprecedented visibility, analytics, and intelligence into its operational processes. Initial use cases include asset management, cath lab supply management, sterile processing workflow, and automated temperature monitoring. Future use cases include patient wander management, hand hygiene monitoring, emergency department workflow, and operating room workflow.
For the VA, current integrations to the Intelligent InSites platform include Censis Technologies for sterile processing and surgical instrument tracking, WaveMark for cath lab supply management, and VA’s asset management solution, AEMS/MERS. In addition, Intelligent InSites will integrate with VA’s electronic health record software, VistA CPRS, to augment operational processes with contextually-relevant clinical data.
Intelligent Hospital Awards
Florida Hospital Celebration Health, located in the shadows of Disney World, has been named an inaugural winner of the 2013 Intelligent Hospital Awards. The facility won the award in the Patient Experience: Care and Safety category.
The winners of the Intelligent Hospital Awards have been invited to participate in an awards ceremony at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS13) conference in New Orleans on March 4. The Intelligent Hospital Awards are presented by the RFID in Healthcare Consortium.
Aside from Florida Hospital, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 (VISN 11) won for the regulatory compliance category, while Group Health Cooperative of Seattle, Wash., won in the Most Innovative Use category. Oregon Health & Science University won for Best Comprehensive Integration.
“The objective of the Intelligent Hospital Awards is to highlight the changing healthcare patient environment and recognize those who are advancing healthcare by integrating advanced technologies, such as auto-ID, NFC, RFID, RTLS, sensors and wireless along with point-of-care information delivery and communications devices,” says Dr. Paul Frisch, President and CTO of the RFID in Healthcare Consortium.
In 2011, Celebration Health opened a new patient tower intended to be a living laboratory for innovation. During the design of the tower, the hospital strongly considered patient safety and comfort. The facility chose RFID/RTLS solutions for staff visibility, asset management, hand hygiene compliance and temperature and humidity monitoring in the Innovation Unit. AeroScout’s RTLS solutions serve as the foundation to pull in other technologies to advance and change the way healthcare is delivered at Celebration Health.
Nurses and technicians wear RTLS badges, enabling the hospital to gather and analyze data regarding staff movements and to ascertain how the unit can operate more efficiently. For example, nurse scheduling is based on a 4:1 patient-to-nurse ratio. By analyzing the walking paths of medical staff, the data shows where nurses actually spend their time and the real ratios. By highlighting these actions, the hospital can focus on staff acuity adjustments, resulting in improved staff and patient satisfaction.
iPads ease healthcare compliance
The use of iPads is becoming more commonplace in hospital environments, especially as new use cases develop. One of the most recent developments relies on an RFID-enabled iPad to verify the inspection process for radiation apparel like vests and aprons.
After a successful pilot last year at the Bon Secours Health System in Virginia, Burlington Medical Supplies began to embed RFID tags into every radiation apron it ships to hospitals. The manufacturer has shipped 40,000 RFID-enabled aprons since Q4.
Burlington Medical Supplies has tagged 40,000 of the radiation aprons it produces at the point of manufacturer.
Burlington approached ODIN RFID in 2011 about developing a solution that would automate the record-keeping process and manage inspection histories for assets like aprons that are required to be inspected each year. Proof of inspection is also required.
ODIN, which was acquired last month by Quake Global, developed a software program called EasyID, which it claims is the first asset inspection solution combining RFID-enabled iPads with a web-based platform for reporting and analytics.