Over the past year, the importance of the Internet of Everything and its relationship with big [real-time] data has created much buzz within healthcare, frequenting the likes of mHealth and healthIT forums. So many discussions speak to the relevance of increased mobility of information as a means to revolutionize healthcare, as an industry and as a service. In our last post we discussed the Internet of Everything and its place within the emerging technologies timeline.1 If and when a full-fledged Internet of Everything will emerge is still speculative, but we have, undoubtedly already started to embrace the benefits of access to real-time data.
So what role do Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) play in all of this and why should it matter for healthcare? To evaluate, let’s take a look at a single hospital department: Operating Room (OR). In high acuity workflow situations, location insight is fundamental for improved efficiency. So, for the OR, success means knowing whereabouts of all patients, staff resources and equipment. Without this basic information, process improvement is virtually impossible.
Automating Surgical Workflow
Capturing perioperative milestones is a great benefit associated with RTLS-automated operations (patient & scheduling, equipment allocation, etc.) for surgical workflow. To support the rigorous demands of high acuity departments, emergency departments must find an RTLS system which integrates with all major patient flow applications.
RTLS automatically captures interactions & associates staff, patients and mobile medical equipment to facilitate perioperative workflow and reporting.
Such applications automate manual tracking systems, providing location and time-specific data: case status, milestones, patient location, department work queues (waiting room, pre-op, inter-op, PACU, and post-op). Automating these events provides you and your staff with real-time visibility into the department, reducing stress and improving efficiency.
The ability to assess the location, movement, and interaction of its patients, staff, and resources can mean increased number of surgeries for any given hospital over time. Establishing these associations and increasing visibility allows healthcare to set up sophisticated business rules to enable true workflow automation. One of CenTrak-installed hospitals was able to increase the prime time utilization rate of its 16 operating rooms by 23%.2