With all of the talk about EMR systems and the incentives surrounding its use, the really important benefit of this technology is the facilitation of patient-centered care through a coordinated system. Delivering healthcare is a challenging process in many ways – and one of the challenges is keeping track of everyone and everything at any given time. A real-time locating system (RTLS) can not only track the location and movement of patients through the facility, it can also track staff and medical equipment as well. For this to work, radio-frequency identification (RFID) “tags” are attached to whatever is being tracked. In the case of a person it could be incorporated into a badge. The RTLS receives wireless signals from the RFID tags to determine its location.
Too much time is often wasted by staff trying to track things down on something that can resemble a ‘search and rescue’ mission. It is this kind of activity that puts a strain on people who provide care and distracts them from caring for the patients. With this technology, manual processes such as walking the halls to track down equipment or issuing the ‘all points bulletin’ for a staff member are eliminated. Consequently, clinical staff on the front line of healthcare have a real tool to actively track and find all of ‘the stuff’ as well as people in the facility in a smarter way – allowing them more valuable time with the patient instead of juggling these frustrating distractions.
Here is a great article that details some of the uses and benefits of such a system: