February 09, 2017

In the News: Real-time Patient Tracking Helps Patients & Medical Center

Sharp HealthCare Chula Vista Medical Center’s program has decreased bed turnaround time by more than 3 hours

Sharp HealthCare’s Chula Vista Medical Center trial of a real-time location system patient tracking program is improving the hospital’s patient management.

RTLS, originally used by Chula Vista for asset tracking, was expanded to apply to patients, according to Deanna White, R.N., the hospital’s director of acute care and lead in the system’s implementation.  Each patient is assigned a numbered tag with a barcode, which is scanned and connected to software. Infrared technology and beacons in the hospital pick up the tracker’s signal (pictured right) and immediately update the software.

The main benefit of the system is in expediting patient throughput and bed turnover. As soon as a patient is discharged, the tag is removed and placed in a special drop box, which pages housekeeping to clean the room. Previously, housekeeping was notified manually. The automated system has decreased the time it takes to get a patient to a room from admit order to occupy by 191 minutes.

“It’s been working really well. We’re finding more beds available. That’s how we get revenue,” White says. She estimates that there are only a handful of hospitals testing this newer technology.

The RTLS also locates a patient who is out of his room undergoing a test or because he has wandered off.

To read more of this story, click here.

Written by Marla Durben Hirsch, Hospitals & Health Networks, February 9, 2017

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