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From RTLS to Real-Time Capacity Management: Location + Patient Flow

RTLS location just the beginning by Jon PoshywakIn RTLS: Location is just the beginning, published in the April 2013 issue of Healthcare Purchasing News, Jon Poshywak, managing director, RTLS Workflow Services, TeleTracking Technologies, says that “realizing the greatest return on an RTLS investment requires a more holistic view of asset management in the broader context of hospital operations and patient flow – sometimes referred to as Real-Time Capacity Management.”

As effective as RTLS is for locating hospital assets, its true benefit affects operational efficiency, by going beyond equipment assets to enterprise patient logistics management.

Imagine the benefit to hospital operations when the precise tracking of mobile equipment and fixed assets (beds/rooms) is integrated with people (patients/staff) and their efficient movement through healthcare procedures and care giving using comprehensive real-time data.

In fact, that long view represents the next phase of RTLS. It requires RTLS solutions which can offer comprehensive real-time data that goes beyond location. Think Real-Time Capacity Management (RTCM).

RTCM represents is the convergence of 3 healthcare information technologies:

  • Asset management,
  • Patient flow and
  • Business intelligence.

As Jon Poshywak explains, “this platform has been described as the digital nervous system, or operational backbone, for the hospital corpus” to provide “instant feedback on the location of patients, staff and physicians, their status and movement, the procedures they’re involved with, the current hospital capacity, plus unmatched integrated real-time management of a broad spectrum of daily activities, such as transfers, asset management, recent admissions, recent discharges, room assignments and cleans, mobile device inventories, and critical workflow improvement.”

The end result is a detailed, real-time big picture perspective of the operational efficiency of a hospital. That big picture allows hospital executives and managers to make smart decisions which not only increase efficiency, but also deliver significant ROI benefits. As the article reports, “the average annual impact, based upon a five year projection, typically averages over $10 million.”

This convergence of RTLS and capacity management automation represents an opportunity to fundamentallly change healthcare. Simply making better use of capacity and resources is the fastest way to reduce cost, eliminate waste, generate income and maintain quality care.

Read the full article for perspective and outcomes on how Location is just the beginning when it comes to RTLS. In other words, be thinking ‘Real-Time Capacity Management’!

Valerie Fritz

Categories: Real-Time Capacity Management, Real-Time Locating System (RTLS)