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March 21, 2018

How Sharp HealthCare is using wristwatches to cut patient wait times

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Written by Megan Knowles | Becker’s Hospital Review | Read full article

Sharp Chula Vista (Calif.) Medical Center, part of San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare, is tracking patients’ movements using wristwatches — an effort that decreased the time it takes for patients to get from place to place throughout the hospital, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The effort began in 2013, when the 343-bed hospital started strapping wristwatches to each patient who entered the facility. These bracelet-like tags have a radio frequency ID chip, which relays patient locations to a network of antennas and maps each patient’s real-time location within the hospital.

The hospital can track where and when patients move down to the second using a database, which allowed the hospital to see how long patients waited, said Deanna White, BSN, MSN, acute care director of Sharp Chula Vista.

The data revealed rooms in the main hospital frequently remained empty for longer than necessary because cleaning crew members were not immediately aware a patient had been discharged. Additionally, patients had to wait while orderlies searched for available gurneys or wheelchairs.

On average, it took 17 minutes for the hospital to dispatch a nursing assistant or technician to the bedside once a patient transport was requested, according to Ms. White. As a result, Sharp Chula Vista made transporting patients a separate specialty to ensure patients spent less time waiting.

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