Josette Weinstein, Marketing Coordinator

As we approach the end of the year, people are busy thinking about holiday shopping, finishing up 2015 work projects, family parties, winterizing their homes, and of course seasonal winter treats and beverages. As we all prepare for the busy few weeks to come, there is of course, another force out there gearing up for the winter as well…the infamous influenza virus a.k.a. the flu.

Flu season is one of the busiest times of the year for US pharmacies as vaccines are in high demand with only a limited supply available. Even with last year’s vaccine effectiveness being only 20%, this year, people are still lining up at their local healthcare facilities to ensure they are properly protected against the flu virus. Luckily, this year’s influenza vaccine supply has spiked back up to an effectiveness of 60%. The increase in effectiveness means that more people are still seeking out inoculations even though we are past November, the peak flu shot month. With the demand for flu shots this high, it’s imperative that pharmacies ensure that their influenza vaccines are safe and available for distribution.

Safeguarding Vaccination Inventory

Since flu and other vaccines are a crucial part to ensuring the well-being of people around the world, it’s essential that they be stored and maintained in an environment that ensures they are available when needed. If vaccines are not stored between 2⁰C and 8⁰C (35⁰F and 46⁰F), they lose their potency and become ineffective. As there are only a limited number of vaccines available, it would be terrible to lose vaccine inventory due to improper environmental and refrigeration temperature monitoring. That could result in more people contracting the flu (or other vaccine-preventable diseases) and potentially spreading it throughout the community.

So how do pharmacies and healthcare facilities protect their valuable vaccines? A wireless environmental and temperature monitoring solution is the key. Maintaining proper temperature conditions is mission critical to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective. A clinical-grade pharmacy temperature monitoring and environmental monitoring solution allows pharmacy and healthcare staff to take immediate action when storage conditions fall outside of safe temperatures.

Manually recording vaccine refrigeration temperatures has the potential for inconsistent data and inaccuracy. Clinical-grade environmental and temperature monitoring systems are easy to use and customizable, allowing the user to monitor and document a range of information, such as temperature, humidity, and other important conditions. At the application-level, pharmacies can view refrigeration groups and receive alerts when units are outside of their monitored threshold. This ensures that USP 797, CDC, the Joint Commission, the Board of Health, and other compliance standards are met and more vaccines are available.

These types of systems can generate a variety of useful reports on multiple units, display an example of the report before printing or exporting, and provide alerts such as low battery warnings to prevent transmission interruptions. Customizable alert notifications allow the user to set the parameters and designate the alert method used.

Learn More

To learn more about wireless environmental and temperature monitoring solutions and how they can help safeguard vaccines and other pharmaceutical inventory, download CenTrak’s Environmental Monitoring for Vaccines Overview.

Request A Demo

The Emergency Room is one of the most active departments within a hospital. Patients come in during all times of the day and night with a variety of different illnesses or injuries. Throughout the various scores of events that take place, from Triage to departure, patients are moved around and seen by numerous hospital caretakers to determine their condition. With the workload of staff increasing and the importance of patient experience and satisfaction rising, it is imperative for hospitals to create more streamlined processes that eliminate wasted time and steps within the Emergency Department. According to the American Hospital Association, the top causes of poor patient flow are communications and visibility of data. By implementing Real-Time Locating System’s (RTLS) tracking devices for hospital staff, patients, and assets you can eliminate many manual processes and enhance patient flow for better patient care.

ED

Staff tracking: RTLS Staff badges identifies the location of staff whereabouts throughout the ED. Badges provide staff presence validation, streamline workflow, and time-stamp exact location via maps on AV monitors with accessible viewing for staff. Nurse call integration can help enhance staff-to-staff communication by connecting calls through wireless phones which speed up standard call procedures with the push of a button. Nurse call phones help with faster patient response times and reduce noise by eliminating overhead paging to keep the ER calm for already stressed patients and families.

Patient location: Patient tags help monitor where a patient is at all times. RTLS tags can help expedite patient response times, and optimize the patient flow process with automatic reminders. Staff can observe patient locations and waiting times via monitors at workstations to ensure the patient has been assisted by a caregiver in a timely manner. Tags also help staff locate wandering patients who leave bays or rooms without approval and get them back to where they need to be. The movements of each patient (from entry into the ER, admittance into the hospital, until departure) is automatically updated to their electronic record with the exact dates and times for hands-free documentation.

Equipment and asset tracking: When staff are under pressure, they don’t have time to waste running around looking for patient monitors, trays or other equipment. With asset tags, equipment in the ED are tracked to show exact location for immediate recovery and use. During critical cases, crash trays need to be located immediately for patients, with no time to spare. Asset tracking can capture exchanges between equipment within just a few seconds, speeding up the workflow processes, to provide faster, better care for patients.

The integration of RTLS within the Emergency Department is thorough in advancing workflow processes, patient flow and reducing response times. It enhances staff communication and gives more visibility of patients in a fast-paced environment where time matters.

Request A Demo

Stacy Roberts, Marketing Manager

certaintybasedlocating

RTLS and RFID technologies are becoming more prevalent in today’s hospitals. Healthcare facilities are finding that the location awareness of staff, patients, and equipment is a pivotal component of clinical efficiency and enhancing the patient experience.

We oftentimes hear numerous healthcare executives and clinical staff members inquire about the level of accuracy they would need from their RTLS solution provider. The question is often phrased “Will the accuracy be within (x number of) meters of its identified location?” However, it is important to note that in a clinical setting this estimated location, “within a few meters,” isn’t precise enough for many RTLS applications in healthcare.

One meter, three meters, or five meters – all of these desired specifications still leave room for error and uncertainty. For example, one meter can mean the difference between an IV pump in a patient’s room, out in the hallway, or in a soiled closet. In many cases, the level of granularity required should not be an estimated distance, but rather the fact that – with 100% absolute certainty – an asset, patient or staff member is in or out of the clinically meaningful zone you have defined. This is what we call certainty-based or clinical-grade locating. With a certainty-based RTLS platform, you can segment spaces such as patient rooms, beds, bays, nursing stations, hallway sections and other relevant areas to drive true workflow automation.

Granularity, reliability and update speeds can vary widely by the RTLS technology type. Additionally, there is a hierarchy of locating needs, proceeding from zone-level locating and presence detection (most often achieved with an RF-only technology – e.g., Wi-Fi), to locating the current status of patients and staff, and finally to workflow enhancement where true process improvements can be facilitated. The more precise an object’s location needs to be pinpointed, more likely a certainty-based technology (e.g., Gen2IR™) will need to be utilized. Certainty-based locating identifies an objects position, within a defined clinical space and with high precision, even as it moves throughout the facility. It is this idea of required location accuracy that determines the correct RTLS solution for your medical center.

Ideally, the RTLS solution chosen should not only meet the requirements for the current problem, but be flexible enough to grow from location tracking to contextual awareness. It should have the capability to segment spaces into clinically meaningful zones and integrate with other enterprise information systems — EMR, RIS and the like. Finally, it should have the capability not only to share data, but to aggregate, distill, analyze, and produce actionable information.

For more tips on selecting an RTLS provider, read our previous blog: Best Practices for RTLS Selection

Request A Demo

Gretchen Makela, Channel Marketing Partner

d0a838c5-WEB-23738966_cmyk (2)

A hospital’s clinical staff is the most valuable asset to their organization. They are the heart of the institution that makes the hospital run. A staff member’s time is spread thin between caring for patients, attending meetings, documenting information, and responding to calls and problems throughout the hospital. With so many variable processes taking place throughout the hospital, a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) identifies the location of clinical staff members throughout the facility and integrates with your nurse call system to improve workflow, patient response times, automate records, and keep staff safe.

  • Workflow enhancements: On average, nurses walk up to 5 miles per day on the hospital floors. They are called in multiple directions at once and have on average 72 tasks per hour (Westbrook et al. BMC Health Services Research 2011). Their time spent doing paperwork, searching for support staff or assets, and responding to interruptions decreases the time they have to provide direct patient care. RTLS staff tracking and nurse call integration helps eliminate wasted time and increase efficiency to automate workflow processes. Nurse call corridor lights illuminate when a patient makes a call from their pillow speaker or bath station. Nurses are notified regarding the type of call that was placed via their wireless phone and the corridor light over the patient’s door. When a caregiver enters the patient room the RTLS enabled staff badge cancels the call and time-records their arrival, therefore enabling a handsfree enhancement to workflow.
  • Patient response improvements: Patient response times are critical to patient care. When a caregiver enters the room their presence is documented and the nurse call corridor light illuminates a different color showcasing to other staff members that a caregiver is present. If the call has not been answered, the corridor light will continue to either blink or beep to indicate that the call is still active to staff. With RTLS technology, monitors display the exact location of the caregivers on shift, so in the case the assigned caregiver cannot respond, staff can contact one closest to that patient room to assist. This helps speed up the process and increase patient response times.
  • Automate location accuracy: When a caregiver enters a patient room, the RTLS platform records their precise location. The amount of time spent in the patient’s room from entrance to exit can also be recorded to help establish better workflow processes, understand patient call response times, and be used for documentation protecting the hospital in the case of liability.
  • Staff safety: With the increase of crime and tightened regulations, there have become more security challenges for hospitals. RTLS staff duress badges help protect staff when they feel threatened or are dealing with a possible fall risk or highly medicated patient where they are in need for further assistance. The staff badge has a duress/assist button they can press to get immediate help to their exact location.

No matter the hospital department, staff locating is a valuable tool that helps streamline workflow processes, enable faster patient response times, document time and location of staff, and eliminate wasted steps so the caregiver can spend more time with their patients. A happier, safer staff member with more efficient solutions leads to enhanced patient care for the entire hospital.

Request A Demo

Long-Term Care

Josette Weinstein, Marketing Coordinator

Earlier this month, Illinois state legislation passed a new law that allows nursing homes to install surveillance cameras throughout their entire facility. While this new state law does not go into effect until January 1st 2016, Illinois has joined California, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico in their efforts to install these cameras in an attempt to improve resident care and security in assisted living facilities. These new laws are in response to the numerous incidents that occur in these communities every day; incidents such as residents wandering from their room, residents falling or getting injured, as well as protecting caregivers from dangerous and potentially life-threatening attacks.

Security Cameras: An Outdated Technology

While all long-term care facilities should have a security system in place to protect their residents and staff, security cameras may be the first solution that comes to mind, but they may not be the best. Unless you have a staff member watching camera feeds 24/7, it’s impossible to know in real-time when hazardous situations are occurring. Even if you have a team dedicated to watching facility cameras around the clock, it’s impossible for them to monitor every room during every second of every day. It’s not practical and it’s not very efficient. There could be a time gap of seconds or  even minutes before someone notices something going wrong—in many dangerous situations such as a wandering resident, those extra minutes can mean the difference between a staff member finding the wandering individual and politely redirecting them or that same resident getting hurt.

Security cameras in every room can also be viewed as an invasion of privacy by the residents inhabiting these facilities. While residents and their families tend to welcome the peace-of-mind safety has to offer, the feeling of constantly being watched and observed may unnerve those constantly being filmed on camera. This discomforting feeling may cause residents to become aggressive or withdrawn which can lead to more attacks on staff, other residents, or the destruction of property.

So what can these facilities do to simultaneously protect their residents in real-time and respect their privacy? The answer is implementing a clinical-grade resident visibility solution. This system can support room-level locating, wander management, and access control all without the need for staff to constantly monitor the system.

Clinical-Grade Resident Visibility

Sanctuary Care at Rye™ is a long-term care community that focuses on residents with mild to moderate cognitive impairment and memory loss. Before utilizing a clinical-grade resident visibility system, Sanctuary Care relied solely on strict rules and security cameras to help protect its residents. This provided staff with limited visibility and did not allow caregivers to react quickly enough to threatening situations—they wanted something better; something that would allow residents to have the freedom to interact with other residents and the community’s abundant amenities without the sense of being on constant “lock down.”

Within 6 months of implementing their resident visibility solution, Sanctuary Care vastly improved caregiver response time, increased community operation workflow, and received such a positive response from residents and their families that once the community reached capacity, they accrued a very large waiting list. Staff know where residents are inside the community at all times and no longer waste time searching for a specific person; this allows them to spend more time caring and interacting with their residents. This solution has prevented countless hazardous situations and overall increased the happiness of the residents living there.

Clinical-grade visibility solutions are completely programmable to allow certain residents to pass through designated access points, for example to reach a common area, while other residents remain secure and protected within different areas. This solution becomes the first line of defense against resident wandering and sends out immediate notifications and alerts once a resident has wandered too far out of bounds. If an unsafe situation arises, staff can quickly summon help to their exact location utilizing the staff-alert feature.

Learn More

To learn more about clinical-grade resident visibility solutions and how they can help protect assisted living residents and staff members, download CenTrak’s Long-Term Care Security Overview.

As today marks the last day of Sepsis Awareness month, we wanted to take this opportunity to discuss how real-time location systems (RTLS) can reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

HAIs are a major, yet often preventable, concern for our nation’s healthcare system. Due to factors such as insufficient application of hygienic practices and hospital protocols, they are among the leading causes of patient disability and mortality as well as financial loss for healthcare institutions.1 Despite efforts to eliminate this problem, approximately 99,000 deaths in the U.S. still occur annually.2

In an attempt to eliminate HAIs, numerous organizations and institutions have published guidelines for improving reporting, research, staff education, accountability and surveillance systems, as well as other solutions.1 For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a framework that helps healthcare workers identify moments when hand hygiene is required to prevent the transmission of pathogens during patient care.3 While educational programs have been shown to improve practices among healthcare workers, other behavior-modifying strategies, such as audits and feedback, must be implemented to affect change.1

Improving Hand Hygiene

As technology advances and process improvements are made, facilities are implementing new ways to gain greater visibility into their healthcare systems. Innovative, automatic, and cost-effective solutions like real-time location systems (RTLS) can be a valuable tool in further decreasing the burden of HAIs and the spread of other infections. By badging healthcare workers, patients, visitors, and equipment, the activity of a single hospital room can be tracked. For example, an RTLS would be able to demonstrate (1) whether or not a healthcare worker washed their hands upon entering a room, (2) the time at which they interacted with a patient or equipment and (3) if they washed their hands after the interaction before moving to the next patient room. True compliance rates are calculated by not only reporting on the number of interactions (the numerator) but also the total number of opportunities for which hand washing should have been completed (the denominator). By using this data, hospitals can audit hand hygiene processes, reduce the spread of unnecessary infections, improve patient outcomes, and lower costs.

Hospitals have begun to implement RTLS and are reporting improvements in hand hygiene compliance and the rate of HAIs. For example, RTLS technology was installed in St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, a 443-bed comprehensive community teaching hospital. The hospital reported that the system resulted in a 300 percent improvement in hand-hygiene compliance, and the HAI rate fell to zero in the pilot’s first quarter, cementing nurse buy-in to the project.4

While this use case for RTLS attempts to solve one very important aspect of disease transmission in healthcare facilities (patient-provider transmission), decreasing incidents of HAIs is a multi-component effort as infections can also spread by patient-equipment contact and even via patient-visitor contact. Tracking and managing surgical trays and medical scopes, ensuring proper air differentiation, monitoring patient interactions, and accurately distinguishing between clean and soiled equipment are all critical aspects of preventing the spread of infection in a healthcare environment.

RTLS Technology for Enhanced Infection Control

RTLS improves efficiency because of the data it can generate. Unless you have an army of people with clipboards looking at things 24 hours a day, RTLS is the only thing that can provide real-time visibility and that’s a fundamental component to getting HAI numbers down. By monitoring data and tracking patients, staff and medical equipment, facilities can identify who or what might have come in contact with an infected patient, giving them better tools to manage infection control and prevent serious outbreaks of communicable diseases. Both hospital leaders and the general public can have peace of mind knowing that immediate action can be taken to keep the public safe.

Clinical-Grade RTLS technology provides the required precision and rapid update speeds that are able to achieve room, bed, bay, and even shelf-level tracking.5 It is also resistant to the line-of-sight constraints that have plagued legacy technologies and has the added benefit of being fully waterproofed – an increasingly important requirement for asset and patient tracking deployments where infection control is a concern.

For example, with the potential for wide-spread disease and the risk of infection from surgical trays, utensils and medical scopes, it’s crucial for healthcare facilities to have the ability to track the storage, usage and cleaning lifecycles of these devices. Research has shown that the rate of HAIs after GI endoscopy is approximately 1 out of 1.8 million procedures.6 To avoid unwanted bacteria growth from organic matter or bioburden left on the device, one of the most important steps healthcare facilities must take is the reprocessing and storage of medical scopes when they aren’t in use. Accurate decontamination is a multi-step process that involves cleaning, high-level disinfection, rinsing, and drying. If one step of this process fails, there is increased risk of infection transmission from one patient to another. William Maisel, deputy director at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, explains, “To this day, by far the most common reason duodenscopes are not properly reprocessed, if and when they remain contaminated, is because of user error.” He also notes that meticulous adherence to existing cleaning guidelines can minimize infection risks.7

Medical Scope Lifecycle Management 

Scopes must enter the initial stage of the reprocessing cycle (rinse and manual brush) within 1 hour of use. If reprocessing does not occur promptly, foreign matter has a chance to set and harden, thus increasing the chances of not being properly removed during cleaning. Utilizing active RTLS, alerts can be provided to SPW/Scope Reprocessing staff immediately after a scope is used and placed into a soiled area so that reprocessing can quickly commence – ensuring proper disinfection. A customizable second alert can be generated if the scope remains in the dirty area for more than a predefined number of minutes (as set per the facility’s protocol). Additionally, even if a scope has been reprocessed and hasn’t been used, it can only be stored for 3-12 days before needing to be reprocessed again. RTLS can help to ensure scopes approaching the 3-12 day storage limit are used vs “expire.” Automatically identifying which devices should be prioritized maximizes clinical workflow and reduces unnecessary and destructive reprocessing. When used in conjunction with RTLS technology, asset tags that are capable of withstanding high-pressure washing and harsh disinfection chemicals enable healthcare facilities to easily and safely monitor their mobile medical devices.

Overall, Clinical-Grade RTLS has been shown to provide medical centers with the ability to mitigate the spread of HAIs and other infections – saving lives, decreasing overall cost, and increasing reimbursements. To learn more about Infection Control Solutions from CenTrak, please download our brochure.

 

References

  1. Health Care-Associated Infections Fact Sheet. World Health Organization Web Site. http://www.who.int/gpsc/country_work/burden_hcai/en/. Copyright 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
  2. Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections. CDC Web Site. http://www.cdc.gov/washington/~cdcatWork/pdf/infections.pdf . Accessed August 18, 2014.
  3. Sax H, Allegranzi B, Uckay I, Larson E, Boyce J, Pittet D. “My five moments of hand hygiene”: a user-centered design approach to understand, train, monitor and report hand hygiene. [abstract] J Hosp Infect. 2007;67(1):9-21.
  4. Three Winning Ways Improve Patient Care With IT. Hospitals & Health Networks Web Site. http://www.hhnmag.com/Magazine/2015/Aug/most-wired-innovator-award-winners. Accessed August 20, 2015.
  5. What is Clinical-Grade Visibility. CenTrak Web Site.  https://www.centrak.com/clinical-grade-locating/. Accessed August 20, 2015.
  6. Kovaleva J, Peters FTM, van der Mei HC, Degener JE. Transmission of infection by flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy and bronchoscopy. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2013;26(2):231-254.
  7. Eisler, P. (2015 September 15). Probe of superbug-tainted medical scopes grows to include cleaning machines. USA TODAY Web Site. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/15/probe-superbug-tainted-medical-scopes-grows-include-cleaning-machines/72316990/ Accessed September 29, 2015.

Josette Weinstein, Marketing Coordinator

Safe interaction of nurse and hospital patient

Nurses are often described as the backbone of all hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They’re the people who spend most of their time bed-side with all different types of patients whom are often stressed-out, uncomfortable, and frustrated for having to be there. This type of scenario can sometimes lead to unsafe and potentially life-threatening situations. While attacks on nurses and other healthcare personnel don’t happen every day, when they do occur, they can be sudden and serious.

The Increasing Frequency of Violence Against Nurses

Last week, a patient being treated in a South Carolina hospital was arrested for assaulting 14 staff members. The attack began when the 29-year-old male patient became aggravated at a nurse trying to administer his medication and threw a cup of ice at her. The situation quickly escalated with him attacking other hospital personnel trying to support the situation. Luckily, none of the nurses were seriously injured and the attacker was charged with multiple counts of third-degree assault and battery.

Unfortunately, these types of attacks are happening more regularly. St. Peter Mental Health Hospital in Minnesota, conducted their own internal research study to see just how often attacks on staff were occurring in their facility. The results from a year-over-year comparison were shocking. In 2011, there were a total of 78 reported assaults; last year, there were 173. That’s nearly a 125% increase in only 3 years. To make matters worse, 2015 is projected to surpass the number of attacks that took place last year by nearly double.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all nonfatal but serious injuries occurring in the workplace happen in healthcare and social service settings. This statistic is estimated to be much lower than the true number of healthcare staff attacks as only the serious incidents get reported. It’s a common misconception in the nursing community that assaults are part of the job, especially in psychiatric units and nursing homes where patients are often disoriented and confused.

Ensure the Safety of Hospital Personnel

It’s extremely important that healthcare facilities ensure the safety of their employees. Not only does it improve work force moral, it ensures that nurses and doctors aren’t distracted by the stress of their personal safety.

So what can hospitals do to better protect their healthcare workers at all times? While the most obvious solution may be to hire more security guards, there are some major downsides to that. As great as security guards can be, it’s impossible for them to know the minute a dangerous situation is happening, and sometimes there isn’t much time between a threat and a full-scale assault. In order to truly protect staff members, there needs to be a solution that can alert others to help the moment a situation spirals out of control. Too many security guards walking around a hospital or other healthcare facility also gives off a very rigid and cold feeling – sort of like being locked up or in a prison. This isn’t something patients want to feel, especially in their already uncomfortable and vulnerable states.

A Smarter Workforce Security System

The best solution to ensure the safety and well-being of healthcare personnel is to implement a staff duress and panic alerting system. This type of wireless security solution protects healthcare personnel by enabling immediate response times during emergencies by instantly locating the specific employee under duress. With either a wall-mounted device or a small staff badge that can easily be hidden behind an employee ID badge, a nurse or doctor could discretely summon help if faced with a threatening situation or is in need of assistance.

Learn More

To learn more about clinical-grade staff duress and panic alerting solutions and how they can help protect healthcare staff members against threatening and dangerous situations, visit our page on Staff Security & Protection.

RFIDvsRTLS

Buzzing around the RTLS and Healthcare industry like we do, we often hear people use the words Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) interchangeably. If you’re one of them, don’t panic; it has been a common misperception throughout the years. While RFID and RTLS solutions are both classified as location-based services, the two are not the same. So, what are RFID and RTLS technologies exactly and how do they differ?

Request a Demo button

What is RFID?

RFID is defined as the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data.1 Signal transmission occurs between two or more communication devices (i.e. a reader and a tag) to locate objects or people. There are two types of RFID technologies to consider, active-RFID location tracking and passive-RFID location tracking. Passive-RFID location tracking technology works only in proximity to specialized RFID readers, providing a ‘point-in-time’ location. Think of a retail environment here where the reader sends a radio signal to a tagged item of clothing and an alarm is triggered only when the tag is sensed in very close proximity to the designated choke point. With active-RFID, you have tags that send out the signal to a reader every few seconds (similar to a cell phone and a tower) and triangulation software or other methods are used to calculate the tagged object’s position.

What are Real-Time Location Systems?


RTLS on the other hand, is any solution that is used to automatically identify and track the location of an asset, individual or other objects in real time. RTLS solutions consist of various tags and badges, platforms (Wi-Fi, Infrared, Ultrasound, Radio Frequency, and others), network appliances (readers and exciters), as well as other components like servers, middleware and end-user software. In 1998, “RTLS” emerged as a term to define and differentiate a new technology that often leveraged the automatic identification capabilities of RFID.2  One of the major differences is that RTLS had the added the ability to track and monitor real-time movement on a computer application. Depending on the technology platform chosen, the system locates the tags within varying degrees of granularity.

Types of RTLS

The various locating architectures of RTLS include: legacy infrared (IR), Second Generation Infrared (Gen2IR™), Ultrasound, Low Frequency RF, Bluetooth (BLE), Wi-Fi, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), ZigBee, and Ultra Wideband (UWB). Some of these technologies deliver an “estimated” location, which relies on a triangulation of sensor readings to identify an object’s location within a reasonable proximity. For example, with active-RFID location tracking, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if an object is on one side of a wall or another as RF signals have the ability to penetrate floors and walls. Legacy IR technology requires a clear line of sight for the tags and sensors to communicate so if a badge is covered by a blanket or flipped around, the system may not function properly. Ultrasound, as a communications protocol, is slower (with longer wavelengths) than infrared, so it is generally unable to match the performance of other technologies. Although Wi-Fi infrastructure is often pre-existing in healthcare facilities, accuracy is limited to as much as thirty feet, making its value as a location-tracking tool uncertain.

Choose RTLS from CenTrak

The RTLS infrastructure that can deliver clinical-grade locating is a “multi-mode” solution that captures the strengths of complementary technologies and eliminates the individual solution weaknesses that create gaps in service reliability. CenTrak specifically combines Gen2IR, a patented technology that does not face the same line of sight constraints as legacy IR, active-RFID, and Wi-Fi in order to deliver the levels of precision and flexibility that are unachievable by any single technology. This RTLS solution provides the “certainty-based” location accuracy, reliability, speed, and safety required to generate clinically meaningful visibility and awareness.3 In this case, not only is location known, but key measures of performance can be tracked, processes can be streamlined, and predictive tools can be employed.

Download our RTLS Visibility handbook to learn more!

 

References
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_locating_system
3. https://www.centrak.com/clinical-grade-locating/

shutterstock_117541078

 

 

 

 

Josette Weinstein, Marketing Coordinator

In the past 60 years, vaccines have helped eradicate diseases and prevent more than 2.5 million deaths each year.1 However, the history of vaccines has been far from glamorous; mostly due to the recent controversy  that has caused vaccinations to be the hottest debate topic on parenting Internet forums and playgrounds nationwide.2

Ensuring Proper Vaccine Temperature Conditions In-Transit

Every August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) celebrate National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) highlighting the benefits that vaccines have, not only for an individual but for the entire human population. Just in time for NIAM, the 2015 Google Science Fair finalist, Anuradh Ganesan, has designed a futuristic device that will save the lives of 1.5 million children each year.3 Growing up in a remote area of India, Ganesan experienced first-hand the horrors of going without proper vaccinations. To make things worse, more often than not, when these vaccines did arrive, they were spoiled due to improper temperature conditions that occurred in-transit.

Now, only 15 years old, Ganesan was inspired to create a mobile vaccine refrigeration device that could successfully transport life-saving vaccines across long distances without the need for ice or electricity. His revolutionary device is called the VAXXWAGON and has the ability to use vapor compression to keep vaccines at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for extremely long periods of time. 4 With the ability to attach to the back of a bike, this machine could change the way vaccines are transported into remote areas around the world.

Preventing Vaccine Product Loss

Whether you’re trying to ensure the correct temperature of vaccines traveling by bike to remote areas or more conventional methods such as a cooler traveling between hospital departments, the message is still the same; it doesn’t take much for a vaccine to spoil. The CDC estimates that hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses are thrown out each year due to improper refrigeration resulting in over $20 million in annual product loss across US hospitals. 5 The wasted doses could have been administered to help fight against dangerous diseases such as Polio, Mumps, Measles, Whooping cough, and the flu which can be fatal if contracted. This leaves people vulnerable and allows for the diseases to spread to others who have not been vaccinated.

Eliminate Manual Data Collection and Meet Compliance Standards

Implementing a Vaccine Compliance Sensor and pharmacy temperature monitoring solution would enable pharmacies to ensure that vaccines and other medications are stored and handled at safe temperatures to avoid possible infection or spoilage while in the pharmacy or during transportation. To ensure compliance standards such as the CDC and the Joint Commission are met, facilities should implement a temperature and environmental monitoring system. These systems automatically record and track data ensuring vaccines and other strict temperature-controlled assets like blood, lab samples, and tissues are safe for patient use. A temperature monitoring solution would eliminate the need for manual reporting, which is often unreliable and inaccurate. The system would automatically send alerts when environmental conditions are sensed at above or below safe parameters, 24/7.

Learn More

To learn more about temperature and environmental monitoring solutions and how they can help your facility meet compliance standards and prevent vaccine spoilage, download the CenTrak Environmental Monitoring Overview and our Vaccines Solution Overview.

References:

  1. 11 Facts About Vaccines
  2. 12 Myths and Facts about Vaccines
  3. VAXXWAGON: An Innovative Eco-Friendly, “No Ice, No Electric” Active Refrigeration System for Last-Leg Vaccine Transportation
  4. This 15-Year-Old Inventor is Savings Lives by Revolutionizing the Way We Move Vaccines
  5. Vaccines Ruined by Poor Refrigeration

Clinical-Grade Infant Security System

 

 

 

 

 

Josette Weinstein, Marketing Coordinator

This past January, a newborn baby boy was accidentally paired with the wrong mother at a private hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Unknowingly, the hospital staff brought the infant into the room of another baby’s parents for over 45 minutes. This maternity ward mix-up left the parents traumatized and they claim that the incident greatly affected their overall connection with their son.

Both sets of infants were in the hospital’s overnight nursery and had been given correct identification tags; they both also remained in the correct bassinets at all times. The issue occurred due to a staff member moving one of the sleeping newborns without checking their name tag for fear of disturbing the baby’s slumber. When it was realized that the infant was in the incorrect room, the still sleeping baby was returned to his proper parents.

Eliminating Maternity Ward Mismatches

While the hospital’s mistake lasted less than an hour, these types of scenarios happen more often than you think. The Joint Commission suggests that over 4,500 nationwide hospitals report incidents of mother-baby mismatching each year. “When something like this happens, it’s considered a sentinel event, meaning it’s very serious and requires immediate attention,” explains Elizabeth Zhani, the Joint Commission spokesperson. “We work with the organization to determine why it happened and we help them put new procedures into place to make sure it never happens again.”

To greatly decrease the number of mother-baby mismatch occurrences, a hospital should implement an infant protection system. This type of advanced security system would eliminate human error by allowing staff to always know the location of both the infant and the mother and be able to ensure that every newborn that enters a mother’s room is the correct child. Staff would receive an automatic alert the moment they bring the wrong child into a mother’s room, eliminating any awkward, or even potentially life-changing, encounters that would occur after realizing the mistake later on.

Protect Your Most Precious Assets

By implementing a clinical-grade infant protection system, hospitals can not only ensure proper matching of mother and baby, but the system can help avoid infant abduction attempts. Should an unauthorized attempt to leave the maternity ward or another protected area occur, the system will automatically send out an alarm, locking doors and holding specified elevators. To further protect against abduction attempts, it’s critical that an infant security system integrate tags with a tamper detection system. Tamper sensors will automatically send alerts and alarms whenever the tag is not touching skin; acting as a preemptive strike against any threatening situation. This allows the hospital to have an immediate response to an abduction attempt keeping the newborn safe and providing the families peace of mind that their baby is always properly protected.

Learn More

To learn more about clinical-grade infant security systems and the numerous benefits they provide to maternity wards and neonatal units, download CenTrak’s newbaby™ Infant Protection Overview.