15 Top Bluetooth Tag Uses in Healthcare
Healthcare administrators have a lot to worry about. They have to keep track of equipment, ensure compliance, support their employees, and, of course, they have to care for patients. While researching for our white paper on Bluetooth tags in healthcare, we compiled 10 distinct ways hospitals can use beacons. Here they are.
The most obvious, and possibly our favorite, use of Bluetooth in healthcare is to build a complete asset tracking system. It’s no secret: hospitals equipment is expensive. And it’s easy for that equipment to go missing. Studies have found that hospitals will purchase 10-20% more equipment than necessary just because staff often has a hard time locating and using assets.
Asset tracking uses Bluetooth tags set up around certain wings or buildings to locate each of these assets and even track them in real time. The next time a doctor needs a certain tool, all they’ll have to do is check a dedicated app and see where the equipment is hiding.
Who likes lines? No one. For patients and staff, the ability to automate check-in can make the entire visiting process much smoother and less complicated. No need for bundles of paperwork or queuing just to say “hi, I’m here.” Tags installed at entry points can help visitors do everything digitally.
Automated entry and access
It’s easy to forget that security is a major aspect of proper hospital management. There are always several buildings and wings and varying levels of access rights. For sensitive areas, hospitals can use beacons to automate entry access. Instead of creating keys that are easily lost or using ID badges and physical checks that are easily manipulated. Beaconized cards (like Card Beacon) allow for managers to assign very specific rights to each and every individual. Best off all, there’s no need to worry about a missing tag or buy new ones every time you change access rights.
Blood Transport Tracking
Tracking and keeping blood products properly identified can be complex and costly. There are often very limited restrictions concerning how long they can be kept in certain locations or temperatures. Effectively managing these products can quickly save a hefty amount of funds while further helping patients. Using Bluetooth allows managers to measure how long the products are out and make sure they get used properly. This use cases includes: identification, temperature tracking, and location tracking.
Want to learn more about Blood Transport Tracking use case? Listen to our on demand webinar: Top 10 Ways Bluetooth Can Make Hospitals More Efficient.
Compliance tracking and recording
Data compliance is yet another huge hurdle for the healthcare industry. Data is being generated faster than ever before, and hospitals are having a hard time keeping up with safe practices. Bluetooth beacons can be used as a safeguard against improperly accessed data. Medical practitioners often report accessing their work data from unauthorized computers. Proximity-based restrictions on files can help keep data in the right place and the right hands.
Who is traveling where? How are employees performing? Bluetooth tags in healthcare do much more track assets or send notifications. They generate valuable data to help hospitals function better in the future. Most importantly, this can help everyone that uses or runs a hospital. Visitors can benefit from data-informed floor plans and scheduling. Administrators can benefit from very clear data on how efficiently their hospital is operating. Managers can optimize the work environment for their employees, and doctors and nurses can experience better planning and scheduling because of data.
Enhanced patient security
Hospital staff has to care for their fair share of at-risk patients. Confused or mediated patients require careful supervision, but that isn’t always possible in a crowded setting. Bluetooth tags can offer an added layer of protection by tracking these patients and ensuring they don’t enter into any dangerous areas. By implementing Triggers, a patient exiting their designated area would automatically trigger an alert, notifying any relevant personal or even those in the area.
There’s several types of sensitive materials and products in a hospital. Medication in particular is often kept at a given temperature. To monitor the temperature of a space in real-time allows managers to keep better oversight of these products. When simply leaving a door ajar overnight can lead to thousands of dollars of lost drugs, easy and automated environmental monitoring can be a life saver.
Fast access to the nearest doctor
When a doctor is needed, it’s very often urgent. Instead of paging a doctor on the other side of the building or physically looking for the nearest assistance, proximity-powered apps can find and notify the nearest personnel immediately. In these situations, proximity is of the utmost importance, and knowing exactly who is 1 minute away and who is 3 minutes away can make all the difference.
Mass Casualty / Infectious Exposure
When a large emergency event occurs and there’s a spike of patients coming to the hospital, nurses can struggle to keep up. They must continue to triage and care for patients in areas they normally aren’t cared for. The Emergency Room expands to anywhere patients can be helped. However, the lack of ready infrastructure makes it very difficult to keep track of these patients. By using Bluetooth tags, patients can be quickly tracked in terms of location and data.
Optimized patient flow
Doctors and nurses see several patients each day. That’s a lot of files to keep track of. It also leaves a lot of downtown and back-and-forth. One popular use case includes uses Bluetooth to deliver relevant patient files to the doctor as they enter the room. This means less time is wasted hunting down files. Similarly, indoor navigation can help patients find the right room in a large wing, fast, and even show staff the fastest route to their next appointment. There will always be a large number of patients moving through the hospital; Bluetooth means all those movements can be optimized for speed and comfort.
Patients like to be in charge of their data and options. In fact, one study found that 80% of patients who are diagnosed with an illness will immediately go online in search of answers. In today’s world, patients expect to have access to all kinds of information. They want to any and everything that can help them get better—they may even search out further information to help them understand and evaluate their habits and lifestyle. That’s why post-visit care is crucial. By automatically sending them both the data specifically related to the visit and any and all relevant information to help them move forward, patients will both feel more comfortable and have the more options to act and leave healthier lives.
Staff Safety / Duress
According to a 2011 study conducted by the Emergency Nurse’s Association, 13% of ED nurses experienced physical violence in past 7 days. Several studies have shown that nurses and other workers are far more likely to experience violence in the workplace than other service professionals. Beacons can expand the opportunity for these workers to call for help and speed up the process of receiving assistance. This isn’t just helpful in financial terms but it also may prevent very real physical injuries and keeps staff feeling safe.
Want to learn more about Staff Safety / Duress use case? Listen to our on demand webinar: Top 10 Ways Bluetooth Can Make Hospitals More Efficient.
Time Studies for Process Improvement
Have a question about your processes? Not sure where to get started? Bluetooth offers the chance to easily do short-term time studies and get quick insights to numerous questions. This means skipping a big, full solution and roll-out. Managers can simply track the movements of certain assets, employees, or patients and get quick and affordable answers.
Ever try to find a snack machine while visiting someone in the hospital? Wayfinding, or indoor navigation, means users will be able to find their way around large hospitals with ease. Whether they’re looking for the next office, a bathroom, or wheelchair-friendly route, proximity-powered apps can help. For long- and short-term visitors alike, this capability removes the stress of getting lost or not knowing what is available in your area. Unlike physical signage, digital wayfinding can also be easily updated without the needs to order or install physical signs and placards.
Learn more about indoor navigation with Bluetooth beacons. Click here to download a free white paper.