Hospital Selects Real-Time Location Systems for Asset Tracking and More
Ekahau Inc., a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location systems (RTLS), announced that Flagler Hospital, a 316-bed acute care hospital in St. Augustine, FL, has selected Ekahau RTLS for a variety of hospital-wide asset tracking, work-flow, and management applications.
"In a matter of hours, Ekahau was able to set up a demonstration of its RTLS solution, and they showed us how their solution could be leveraged for a wide range of applications that would provide increased benefits and improved ROI for the hospital long into the future," said Chris Mele, administrator of supply chain management at Flagler Hospital. "We considered multiple vendors for asset tracking and are confident the Ekahau system will be a success for Flagler Hospital".
Ekahau RTLS is a software-based real time location system that can track the location of tagged assets over any generation or brand of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi network. Flagler Hospital utilizes a campus-wide wireless LAN from Cisco Systems Inc. for a variety of clinical and IT applications. Now that same Wi-Fi network can be leveraged by Ekahau RTLS to support Flagler Hospital's equipment inventory control and utilization, tracking several thousand clinical assets such as infusion pumps and patient monitors as well as IT assets. Flagler Hospital expects that it will add more location-based applications, including staff and patient location tracking and temperature monitoring, in the near future, supporting an even greater return on its investment in the Cisco wireless network and Ekahau RTLS.
RTLS system performance is typically measured by two key parameters: accuracy and latency. Ekahau's patented RF algorithms coupled with a calibration methodology deliver accuracy down to room level. And because it is certified by and operates over Cisco Wi-Fi networks, which provide real-time communications, Ekahau RTLS is able to transmit and process location data within seconds.
According to a press release issed by Ekahau, hospitals commonly use Wi-Fi networks for data and voice communications. Ekahau was the first company to develop a software-based location tracking application that can be quickly and easily deployed over any Wi-Fi network, without the need for additional infrastructure, such as readers, cabling, choke points, and exciters.
Ekahau states that its RTLS does not interfere with medical equipment like other RFID-based technologies have been shown to do. And, because it is WiFi-based, the Ekahau RTLS system does not require putting separate tags on many wireless devices, such as infusion pumps and monitors, that have integrated Wi-Fi communications.
"Hospitals are complex environments that can introduce several challenges to an average tracking system. For example, they often have many small rooms and complex layouts, all of which impede or distort tracking system signals. And they often have thousands of assets and people that could move anywhere across a massive campus," said Tuomo Rutanen, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development for Ekahau. "Unlike other solutions, Ekahau RTLS thrives in this kind of complex environment. The combination of its performance and accuracy, with monitoring, work-flow automation, and reporting tools, provides the visibility that hospitals need to ensure that their location tracking application delivers the operational efficiencies promised."