“It’s a huge concern because it’s a huge liability for hospitals,” he says.
Hospitals also use RFID tools to measure temperatures and monitor hand hygiene for infection control. Beyond improving patient safety, this technology can help hospitals save money by enabling employees to work more productively and efficiently.
The use cases for RFID, besides asset management, include providing real-time insight on the location of medical equipment, and improving patient workflow by automating what used to be a manual process of managing and scheduling procedures, Gee says.
“The real attractive ROI is orchestrating workflow, tracking staff and patients, and being able to track events, such as surgical procedures, to make sure everything runs smoothly,” he says.
The Tools That Enhance Infant Safety
While infant abductions rarely occur, PRMC updated its infant security system in 2018 to give new parents peace of mind that their babies are secure.
The hospital chose Stanley Healthcare’s RTLS and infant protection software for several reasons, including its reasonable cost, ability to track infants as they move around the birthing unit and ability to expand infant tracking throughout the hospital, says Brenda Blankenship, nurse manager of PRMC’s family birth suites. The RFID tags on each baby continuously communicate with the hospital’s Wi-Fi network.
“We can look on the computer and see a map of each baby’s location,” she says.
From a technical standpoint, Stanley Healthcare’s technology offers single sign-on capabilities and integrates well with the hospital’s existing Wi-Fi network. PRMC has standardized on a variety of products from Cisco, including access points, wireless controllers, the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and RTLS technology, which works hand in hand with Stanley Healthcare’s AeroScout RTLS software, Newby says.
AeroScout, installed in the hospital’s data center, loads maps and other information from Cisco MSE, allowing staff to see baby locations throughout the hospital, he says.
To provide more precise locations of each child’s whereabouts in the family birth suites, the IT staff quadrupled the number of access points on the floor from four to 16. They also installed devices called “exciters” at each exit door to monitor for infant tags.
If a baby goes within five feet, the system automatically locks the door. And if an exit door is held open beyond normal limits, the system alerts nurses with an alarm, Newby says.
Improving Patient Workflow with RFID Tags
In Los Angeles, Adventist Health White Memorial improved operating room turnaround time by 27 to 24 minutes after deploying RFID tags and cloud-based software that combines RTLS, operating room workflow management and mobile communications.
The 353-bed hospital, which has six operating rooms, uses the technology to make sure surgeries start on time and to reduce wait times between registration, the preoperative assessment, the surgery itself and the postoperative recovery room.