HealthLeaders Media Leadership Corner explores technology, efficiency and healthcare
Healthcare leaders may be overlooking an important technology integral to maximizing overall quality, efficiency and compliance: RTLS.Most mornings, I spend my first ½ hour over a cup of coffee scanning the healthcare media headlines to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the RTLS market segment, and more importantly, what matters to healthcare leaders. This morning, an article by Philip Betbeze, a senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media, really caught my attention.
His article, Big Business: Healthcare’s a Gold Mine, discusses opportunities in healthcare, and specifically how technology “could make a greater impact on efficiency in healthcare than any other industry.” Philip goes on to admit – “It’s complicated, sure, but the returns could be stratospheric.”
As most of you reading this blog know, Awarepoint is focused on the market segment of real-time location systems (RTLS) for acute care hospitals. Since healthcare is typically behind other industries in rooting out inefficiency and waste, the opportunities here are big.
With all the buzz and focus on meaningful use and best practice standards of care, many healthcare leaders may be overlooking an important technology that is integral to maximizing overall quality, efficiency and safety in hospitals: Real-time location systems (RTLS) and the broader scope of Enterprise Awareness.
Jay Deady, Awarepoint’s President and CEO presents a powerful argument on the integral importance of Enterprise Awareness in healthcare using a 3-legged stool analogy:
Effective hospital systems are spending millions on EHR and CPOE and are implementing best practice standards of care methods (the first 2 legs of the stool). However, without immediate, real-time information on location and condition of assets - and the analytics, dashboards and workflow modeling around usage and availability of equipment and resources needed to care for patients - the best intentions and technology spend are missing the third leg of the stool – Enterprise Awareness.
How can hospitals be optimally effective in clinical care without knowing the location and status of needed equipment or the availability of appropriately skilled staff resources? When you think about the value of CPOE, the electronic entry of physician orders for the treatment of patients, the primary goals are clear: reduce errors and decrease delays in order completion. These goals can only be optimally achieved when medical staff have true enterprise awareness in real-time. This awareness provides valuable information to see exactly where the particular specialty equipment needed is located, improves efficiency of transport and order turnaround times to departments such as pharmacy, laboratory or radiology responsible for fulfilling the order, and provides the business intelligence needed to effectively move patients to appropriate levels of care, or discharge them, in a timely, safe and cost effective way.
Consider these scenarios likely preventing the most efficient, compliant and safe care at your facility:
• Are you getting patients out of ED as soon as you can and to the appropriate level of care? If you can’t transfer the patient out of ED because a special piece of equipment isn't available for him in ICU, what happens when the next ambulance arrives and your ED is full?
• If you can’t transfer patients from the ICU to a medical/surgical floor because the right equipment or right bed for lower level care is not readily available, what does this cost your hospital?
• Are you prolonging patient suffering or delaying treatment because something ordered for a patient isn’t readily available? This delay in treatment not only prolongs the patient’s disease process, it costs you in time and resources by keeping patients in an inappropriate level of care longer.
• When there’s a negative patient outcome, how often is that associated with equipment or appropriate skilled staff resources not being available?
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of opportunities where RTLS and enterprise awareness can benefit acute care hospitals – certainly more than can be described here. The challenge I present to you is this: Have you overlooked RTLS as a clinical tool to reduce inefficiencies at the point of care? The most effective, safe and compliant hospitals are aware – is yours?