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December 5, 2023 | 7 minute

Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An RTLS Solution

Cardio monitor in hospital hallway - RTLS solution for hospitals

Why Real Time Location Systems (RTLS)?

Equipment tracking and management are a big part of the day-to-day procedures of healthcare facilities. Lost time and resources from trying to locate devices prevent employees from performing important tasks, cause staff burnout, and negatively impact your bottom line. Learn how RTLS solutions can transform your daily practices for greater efficiency and experience.

The Challenges

RTLS has been instrumental in solving challenges within healthcare facilities for the past 20 years:

    • Wasted Time: From searching for assets instead of engaging in meaningful tasks like repairs and cleaning to get devices back into use.

    • Misplaced or Lost Items: On average, 20% of equipment inventory in hospitals gets lost or misplaced.

    • Overpurchasing: Purchasing too many IP pumps due to poor inventory data and management.

    • Maintenance, Compliance Issues, and Recalling Borrowed and Rented Assets: Time spent tracking down items and incurring fees from overdue equipment not returned on time.

    • Asset Delays: Unavailability of assets causing delays in patient care.

    • Nurse Burnout and Violence: Staffing shortages due to the rising numbers of violent incidents against nurses.

These challenges pose a problem evident in the rapidly shrinking margins healthcare facilities face.

The Solutions

RTLS can help solve these issues by delivering effective solutions to:

    • Streamline inventory management to track and use assets effectively.

    • Optimize resources, allocate equipment, and analyze data for better management practices.

    • Use real-time data to inform pump purchase needs instead of guessing based on past needs.

    • Utilize digitized inventory dashboards to prevent the need for time-consuming manual searching.

By using RTLS, your facility can put a stop to waste and adopt more efficient procedures that save time and resources.

Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing an RTLS Solution

1. Selecting a Point Solution

A point solution solves just one problem and is often expensive to install, difficult to maintain, and requires frequent battery replacement. Point solutions typically use proprietary technology, making them inflexible and non-scalable. These downsides translate to little to no ROI.

Instead of a point solution, look for a better investment with multiple use cases for your healthcare facility. The best ones use the same infrastructure for all applicable use cases, further keeping costs low. Look for solutions that focus 100% on healthcare spaces by recognizing the unique aspect of each facility and that include options for feedback and reviews to improve customer satisfaction, and employ fast response times for product requests.

2. No Workflow Automation

Simplicity of use is critical for automation, but you must also have the ability to quickly scale up to keep pace with your facility’s needs. Some examples of where automation can improve speed and efficiency include:

    • Par Levels: Automatic replenishing of inventory instead of rounding or guessing.

    • Loss Prevention Alerts: Alerts notify you exactly when a device has entered or exited a restricted area for better asset tracking.

    • Repair Ticketing: Staff members may not understand how to handle maintenance requests, or have the time to complete them. An automated system that creates a request at the push of a button gets repairs done quickly.

    • Room Replenishment: Nurses no longer have to track down assets or spend time interpreting software maps to locate necessary equipment. Automation helps to maintain consistent levels of equipment in designated storage rooms for easy access.

    • Asset Utilization Data: Track asset use and refresh numbers using real data to avoid shortages and overpurchases.

3. No Internal Digital Transformation Roadmap

You must spend some time reflecting on where your challenges lie before you can take steps to fix them. Look beyond individual use cases and think about initiatives that could become important down the road. Prioritize your most important issues first, but know what you wish to roll out in the future. Examining your internal policies and identifying your most pressing issues gives you the information you need to pinpoint which areas of your operations could benefit from RTLS solutions.

Set goals to improve your operations. This could be reducing your equipment downtime to get the most use out of each device, implementing automation to open equipment repair requests at the press of a button, or enhancing your workflow efficiency in some way. You don’t need to know the outcome at the beginning. The first step is to identify your issues and then map your way to a solution that solves them.

4. Not Future Proof

Continually fixating on short-term needs sets you up for bigger, and more costly, challenges further down the road. Leave your facility open for greater possibilities by considering solutions that are future-proof in design. You never know what exciting new technologies may become available soon that you wish you could incorporate into your existing infrastructure. Some examples of future-forward solutions include:

    • The Cloud to easily scale new solutions across buildings without the need for onsite servers. You have the option to get the latest features and security without adding strain to your IT department.
    • Avoid proprietary technology and focus on standard protocols that work now and in the future. Opting for protocols like BLE lets you update your existing infrastructure with the latest offerings as they get introduced.

    • Choose open APIs for greater flexibility and integrations to upgrade your system of records.

    • Look for solutions that deliver a full portfolio of use cases to cover any future challenges you may have.

These solutions solve your pressing concerns today and leave you the option to scale or change your system in the future to meet your changing needs.

5. Complicated Software

Complicated software takes more time and effort to learn than is necessary. Choose intuitive software with a simple interface that is easy for staff members to use. Look for a solution that has the following:

    • Displays crucial information like inventory “at a glance,” or in a simple table to easily recognize highs and lows.

    • A quick search option to locate a device fast.

    • Capability to import the inventory CSV file quickly.

    • AI assistance to ask dynamic questions and receive a relevant response.

Your chosen software should allow staff members to find the information they require fast, without a minimal number of clicks. Ideally, it should have the capability to pair with mobile devices for access to essential information on the go.

Real-World Examples

These success stories show you real-world applications of RTLS.

Ticketing

  1. The Problem: A facility has many broken devices waiting for repair, but no repair tickets opened to start the process.
  2. The Solution: Staff switched to a red button to automatically create a work order.
  3. The Outcome: The new system increased asset utilization by getting the repaired devices back out onto the floor faster.

Wallboard

  1. The Problem: Staff cannot find wheelchairs quickly.
  2. The Solution: Staff use a dedicated wallboard to show the current location of all wheelchairs on the floor.
  3. The Outcome: Patients receive a wheelchair faster, which translates to faster room turnover and improved patient satisfaction.

BLE IoT Infrastructure

  1. The Problem: High levels of loss and misplacement of assets between floors.
  2. The Solution: Staff get Asset Utilization Metrics and Alerts to notify when high-value assets leave restricted areas.
  3. The Outcome: Automated alerts prevent lost and misplaced assets to improve asset utilization on floors.

Watch Our Webinars On-Demand

Are you ready to transform your healthcare facility with RTLS solutions to reduce waste and streamline your operations? Kontakt.io provides informational webinars on this and other important topics to help you identify solutions for your facility while learning about the benefits and impact of implementation.

Sign up to watch our webinars on-demand to get practical tips and insights for your most pressing challenges.