A real-time location system, a form of RFID particularly useful for tracking the movement of high-value assets, saved a North Carolina hospital $750,000 by cutting the amount of time staff spent searching for medical equipment by a whopping 96 percent, according to a soon-to-be-published study. Not surprisingly, given the time savings, the system boosted staff satisfaction, and it even helped improve clinical outcomes through greater operational efficiency and better infection control.
"The level of data generated by these systems has the potential to profoundly change the management of technology and the delivery of patient care," lead researcher Barbara Christe said, according to Healthcare IT News. Christe is program director of biomedical engineering technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. That school conducted the study at Southeastern Regional Medical Study in Lumberton, N.C., which tracks beds, wheelchairs, crash carts, IV stands and other mobile equipment with RTLS technology from Morrisville, N.C.-based vendor RadarFind.
With the technology, each of the hospital's 120 nurses saved an average of an hour per day by not having to hunt down equipment. The change was even greater for clinical engineering staff, among which daily search time declined from four hours to merely 10 minutes, according to the study, which will soon be published in the Journal of Clinical Engineering. Monthly preventive maintenance of tagged equipment now approaches 100 percent.
To learn more:
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