Hospitals are often a fast paced, hectic environment. Instead of going in every morning and knowing exactly what is expected of you and what obstacles you will tackle, hospital staff have no idea what the day will hold. They are in a reactive field, responding to all types of emergency situations with no time to waste.
Not only are hospitals busy but they are typically encompassing a large area with multiple buildings containing multiple wings, floors, and units. Trying to manage hundreds of patients, hundreds of doctors and nurses, and tons of equipment throughout the large area cannot be done without a proper technology system.
This is where RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and RTLS (Real Time Locating System) come into play. RFID are tags applied to objects. Types include patient wristbands, employee identification cards, and equipment tags. Wheelchairs, gurneys, computers, respiratory machines, and more are examples of tagged equipment. Once tagged the RTLS is able to track the objects through radio waves and report back the location to the searcher.
By efficiently tracking people and equipment, the RFID/RTLS provides a number of benefits to a hospital. The technology maximizes the use of equipment, reduces the amount of lost or stolen equipment, increases employee productivity, ensures patient safety, and improves patient care. The cost savings associated with these benefits can be tremendous.
To explain this technology in a real life situation, think about a patient being rushed to the emergency room after a car accident occurs. The nurses have little time to react and they need to immediately locate the team of doctors and the equipment needed to treat the patient. The RFID/RTLS provides the nurses with a means to find the required resources.
Another example is in the event of an Alzheimer’s patient staying in a hospital. Say they had surgery and are recovering for a few days. They may wander from their room and forget where they are or get lost in the large hospital building. The RFID/RTLS allows the nurses to easily track the patient and return them safely to their bed, preventing a harmful situation from occurring.
Overall, being able to track hospital staff and equipment brings a large, fast paced and hectic environment down to an organized and manageable state. Hospitals and medical facilities would not be able to function efficiently without the technology of RFID and RTLS.