Frequently Asked Questions

RTLS in Healthcare Installation and Maintenance

What are some of the installation issues that hospitals should be aware of?
Ease of installation can have a significant impact on the overall project costs, length of time to install and disruption to patient care. Any hardwired system should be considered carefully, since mechanical installation and drilling can affect patient care and require specific infection control protocols. For RTLS that is wireless, there are a couple of key factors that hospitals should be aware of:

  • How is the infrastructure powered?

    • If readers require electrical outlets, how many will be used and how will that affect electrical outlet access throughout my hospital?

    • What is the estimate of new outlets needed to fully equip my hospital with enterprise coverage?

    • What happens in areas with limited or no extra outlet availability?

  • Am I considering using my Wi-Fi network for RTLS?

    • It’s a common oversight to assume Wi-Fi alone will work as the RTLS backbone. Without a secondary technology, a Wi-Fi system cannot provide the location accuracy needed to drive significant RTLS value. What secondary technology will be used to guarantee room level accuracy, and what will this cost?

    • WiFi access point configuration and density needed for RTLS may be as much as 4-6 times more than what is needed for communication purposes. Key considerations are cost, disruption, and time delay associated with this. Be informed, ask the questions, and talk to others who have attempted to use Wi-Fi.

    • Perhaps the big question for Wi-Fi is whether the RTLS data will disrupt and potentially interfere with mission-critical applications running on the network. With so much more clinical data running on Wi-Fi, the appetite for bandwidth is huge and growing. Most hospital IT departments are very protective of their Wi-Fi network, and for good reason.

Download the whitepaper 6 Major Problems with Wi-Fi RTLS That Cannot Be Ignored for more information on major challenges with Wi-Fi RTLS.

What are some of the maintenance issues that hospitals should be aware of?
For Wi-Fi systems, here are the main maintenance questions to address:

  • Who is responsible for maintaining the network and the ongoing calibration needed?

  • How is this going to affect the workload of the IT department?

  • If the vendor is taking responsibility, what’s it going to cost?

  • Who is responsible for monitoring security and interference issues with the location traffic on the Wi-Fi network?

  • How does this affect the IT department’s workload and responsibilities?

For systems that use devices that plug into electrical outlets, consider these questions:

  • What happens when the readers get unplugged?

  • Who is responsible for assuring the readers get plugged back in and in the appropriate location?

  • If the readers are stolen or misplaced, who’s responsible?

For battery-powered systems:
  • How long will the batteries last?

  • Who is responsible for battery replacement and what will it cost?

For more information or to request an RTLS Needs Assessment for your hospital, contact TeleTracking »