1. Seeing is believing
- ALWAYS require a live demonstration of the technology working in your facility
- You never want to be surprised after your implementation that the selected technology does not meet your performance expectations in your own environment
2. Do your homework
- Seek unbiased evaluation from credible third-party analysts (i.e. ECRI)
- Ask for customer references from all of RTLS technology providers – don’t forget to ask specifically about any de-installs
3. Form an evaluation committee
- Greater value can be achieved by involving all of the stakeholders whom will be impacted by the RTLS implementation
- Make sure to include all relevant parties. For example:
- Patient Safety
- Infection Prevention & Control
- Risk Management
4. Agree upon your RTLS specifications
- Define “room-level” appropriately (i.e. estimated or certainty-based). A metric of distance, no matter how small (i.e. 8 feet or even 3 feet), will never provide “room-level” or “bay-level” accuracy.
- Determine max system latency for all uses:
- Asset management
- Staff locating integrated with nurse call
- Staff duress
- Hand hygiene compliance monitoring
- ED or OR workflow
- Document battery life expectations and make sure to relate them to the expected performance of the tag (i.e. rate of location updates)
5. Focus on integration and scalability
- Can the applications your hospital already invested in be location enabled?
- Seek partners that have RTLS experience specifically for Hospitals
- Beware of the “walled garden” – a solution that only works well for one application (i.e. asset tracking).
- Make sure you research an RTLS solution that can be used for the one application you need today and be used for future applications (i.e. patient and staff locating and workflow management)
6. Calculate true cost – there can be hidden costs in installation, down-time etc. Make sure to ask about this!
- Wiring (Ethernet, 110v power)
- Patient room closure for wiring requirements
- Additional access points, location appliances and network redesign
- Re-calibration, periodic tuning
- Battery replacement or battery charging
- Look beyond initial tag purchase