Can RTLS help solve healthcare inefficiencies?
Healthcare Industry wastes $750 billion a year -- roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar
A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that the Healthcare industry wastes approximately $750 billion per year due to inefficiencies such as unnecessary services, excess administrative costs, and prevention failures. The IOM has recommended solutions for reducing the industry’s wasteful spending. The notable solutions include improving digital infrastructure, creating patient-centered care, optimizing operations, and ensuring patient care continuity.
As reported by The New York Times, “If banking were like health care, automated teller machine transactions would take not seconds but perhaps days or longer as a result of unavailable or misplaced records,” the report said. “If home building were like health care, carpenters, electricians and plumbers each would work with different blueprints, with very little coordination.”
Not one solution alone is capable of eliminating all of the waste found in the healthcare industry today (see infographic below). However, Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) have proven to help cut down on this waste. Here are some examples of how RTLS can save the healthcare industry billions of dollars:
- PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS: RTLS will dramatically increase visibility to critical resources with actionable business intelligence. Think of the possibilities of harnessing accurate location information of valuable resources such as nurses, beds, and other clinical assets.
- Treat more patients with fewer resources
- Eliminate equipment shrinkage, increase equipment utilization and reduce rental costs (saves significant dollars)
- Improve productivity of nurses (see more patients by eliminating the burden of looking for equipment)
- INCREASE CAPACITY: Acute care hospitals have focused so much attention on getting more patients in the door, but very few have figured out how to move them through their clinical workflows more efficiently. Just think of all that money spent on attracting the best doctors and constructing that new tower. All of that investment can now payoff through location-enabled patient flow systems. If a hospital could increase their capacity by as little as 10%, the increase in revenues and waste that could be eliminated would be substantial.
- IMPROVE PATIENT CARE/SATISFACTION: Hospitals are able to track their staffs’ responsiveness to nurse call and facilitate nurse rounding with a high-performance RTLS. Rounding compliance can improve patient satisfaction, which can drive higher HCAHPS scores, reimbursements and most importantly improve patient care and safety.
- REDUCE HAIs: There are advanced RTLS solutions designed to improve the management of Hand Hygiene Compliance as well as the cleanliness of clinical equipment – both are key drivers that can increase the likelihood of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs increase fatality rates as well as hospital length of stay – both of which are costing the industry billions of dollars.
If you’re thinking about how RTLS can help reduce waste at your healthcare organization, make sure you carefully evaluate the available technologies. Look for RTLS providers with the following characteristics:
- Certainty-based location accuracy (100% Bed/ chair/bay-level accuracy) for advanced use cases (asset management, nurse call, patient and staff workflow, compliance monitoring, etc.).
- Rapid location update speeds to keep pace with the speed of healthcare.
- Wire-free, easy to install and extreme battery life that can leverage existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.
- Open location infrastructure that can seamlessly integrate data to both existing and new applications.
For more information about the Institute of Medicine’s report, please visit https://iom.edu/Reports/2012/Best-Care-at-Lower-Cost-The-Path-to-Continuously-Learning-Health-Care-in-America.aspx