Johns Hopkins' virtual RTLS test drive

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Hospital did its homework before choosing a real-time location system (RTLS), testing out three different products in its clinical simulation center and deploying a team of experts to review the results, according to a Healthcare Informatics article.

The organization began the process by giving vendors the specifications of the new clinical building where the system will ultimately be deployed as well as a description of its goals and objectives in terms of asset tracking and nurse call location.

It tested the RTLS systems from three vendors in its simulation center, which contains mock-ups of patient rooms and an OR, for example, and is used both for training and for system evaluations, Mike McCarty, Johns Hopkins' chief network officer, told Healthcare Informatics.

The pilots included staff and asset tracking utilizing a variety of real time locating system technologies, including Wi-Fi, a beacon infrared (IR) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system and IR-RFID solution, according to a release.

For each test, one of the three vendors installed its solution and trained simulation center staff to use it. Each RTLS was used for six weeks, then it was removed and the next system was installed.

Each RTLS system was for its ability to follow items and personnel and to provide specific reports.

Based on those tests, the hospital selected a solution offered by Versus Technologies--but it didn't stop there. It ran two separate pilots in existing buildings before signing the check.  The RTLS system will be implemented in the hospital's new 1.6-million square-foot facility when it opens in April, McCarty says.

An estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of hospitals are using RTLS, according to a survey by KLAS Research released earlier this month. Moreover, 95 percent of the 150 responding facilities, which ranged from very small to very large hospitals, said that their use of RTLS resulted in operational efficiency gains.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Informatics article
- see the Versus Technology release
- visit the Johns Hopkins Medicine Simulation Center online 

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