Efficient asset management in hospitals through a Real-Time Location System
A large number of medical equipment and devices are used daily by clinicians, nurses, and other hospital staff with a lack of location tracking. Mobile equipment is for example lent to another department and not returned or its location is changed to assure its availability for urgent situations, leading to a decrease in its usage. The poor traceability of this equipment in health care settings has several consequences.
According to some studies, nurses can spend up to 72 minutes per shift searching for equipment with the consequent decrease in productivity. Labour costs make up the vast majority of healthcare spending and therefore this waste of time represents a significant fraction of the total European healthcare spending. In addition, the equipment that cannot be traced and found needs to be replaced, causing overspending on equipment which signifies a fraction of the annual investment in medical technology by hospitals (around €100 billion). And the most important consequence: if a staff member is unable to find an important asset on time, patient’s life may be put at risk.
With the aim of making the process of finding and managing mobile assets within a hospital more efficient, Philips, OLVG, and the Eindhoven University of Technology are working on a pilot within BigMedilytics that uses a Real-Time Big Data analytics solution at OLVG hospital in Amsterdam. This solution receives streaming data from a Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) to track mobile assets and help locale the medical equipment and devices. To make this possible, location-aware tags are placed on mobile equipment to send their location. You can find how RTLS works in the video below by OLVG.
The first results of this research concluded that RTLS can be successfully implemented in a hospital environment. The expected benefits are multiple, such as optimization of costs through reduced search times and insights that allow more optimal usage of assets.
Stay tuned for more updates from this pilot!