Back

March 26, 2024 | 8 minute

RTLS Technology: Enhancing Hospital Patient Tracking & Safety

Elderly man being pushed in wheelchair by nurse
scroll to top

Patient safety is a top priority within health systems. The advent of real-time location system (RTLS) technology has emerged as a potent and efficient tool in enhancing the intricate care delivery process. Its implementation significantly contributes to upholding high standards of care, enhancing outcomes, and ultimately fostering a superior patient experience.

Hospitals are busy with patients moving through their care journey within the facility while providers work at a rapid pace to ensure each patient arrives in the appropriate department on time with the correct medical devices available for their care. This requires efficient communication, streamlined workflows, and accurate patient, staff, and asset tracking. Kontakt.io provides the necessary RTLS platform for fast and accurate real-time visibility of each patient’s location and movement to achieve higher standards of safety and security.

Implementing real-time tracking in your facility can help stop patient wandering, elopement, and abduction by using small BLE nano tags on hospital wristbands that send a tracking signal to your network, allowing you to locate any patient at any time. RTLS is also an efficient way to help patients navigate through your facility using step-by-step directions and to share critical patient data using a digital whiteboard. The result is a better-performing staff and enhanced patient safety.

Understanding RTLS Technology for Patient Safety

Real-time locating systems provide value for healthcare systems in monitoring and tracking patients, staff, and assets. RTLS uses location tags, sensors, and wearable technology to track movement and pinpoint asset locations throughout the facility.

RTLS Components Tailored for Patient Tracking

Kontakt.io’s RTLS platform allows your facility to track the location of all patients in real-time, at every step in their care journey from admission through discharge. The platform utilizes the following:

  • BLE Patient Wearables: These small nano tags are designed for compatibility with hospital bands, providing a simple, wearable solution for real-time location tracking.
  • Access Points: Whether it be Kontakt.io’s BLE Portal Lights or hospitals’ existing network gateways, real-time signals are sent to and managed in the Cloud.
  • Digital Applications: Kontakt.io’s platform offers various web and mobile applications, such as:  
    • Patient Elopement: Health systems get live map views of patients’ location info, and receive instant alerts when patients stray beyond safe boundaries set for them.
    • Indoor navigation: Provides maps and step-by-step directions based on the patient’s current location to guide them to their destination.
    • Patient display screens: These digital whiteboards are an excellent way for staff to communicate vital information about the patient’s care plan, appointments, and medication schedule. They allow for improved coordination of care and a more satisfying patient experience.
  • API integration: Kontakt.io’s data can also be integrated seamlessly with many existing systems, leading to a simplified, holistic view of the inpatient journey.

Outfitting each person with a wristband containing a nano tag enables your staff to use your RTLS platform to monitor patient movement and locate them quickly to ensure they make their appointments on time. This speeds up the care delivery process and prevents delays and bottlenecks. These wearable devices ensure real-time monitoring of patient location within the hospital premises with room-level accuracy by sending out a signal with a personalized identification number.

New call-to-action

Ensuring Patient Safety through RTLS Integration

Improving safety and security within your facility leads to a better patient experience.

Immediate Response to Emergencies

Real-time tracking enables swift responses to patient distress calls or emergencies. Rapid responses contribute to improved patient outcomes. Prompt location identification is also crucial in cases of patients wandering into restricted areas or elopement from the premises. Fast action allows staff to intervene before the patient comes to any harm.

Prevention of Adverse Events

Despite normal hospital security processes and protocols, it’s impossible for staff to personally keep an eye on each patient. RTLS can drastically improve patient safety by:

  • Reducing the risk of patient injury by tracking movement and alerting staff of any entry into restricted areas.
  • Sending alerts when a patient attempts to leave the premises.
  • Providing enhanced security measures and unauthorized access into secure areas.

The risk of patient wandering and elopement increases in patients experiencing confusion due to mental illness or other ailments. RTLS provides the advanced safety protocols your facility needs to protect all patients, particularly the most vulnerable.

Optimized Patient Flow

RTLS facilitates efficient communication among healthcare staff regarding patient location and care. This creates improved patient flow by informing staff of patient wait times, staff availability, and room and asset utilization. Staff can stagger appointments correctly to avoid lengthy wait times caused by bottlenecks, check medication administration schedules, and quickly find necessary equipment to administer care.

Overcoming Challenges and Implementation Considerations

Deploying an RTLS platform in your facility is a smart choice. Kontakt.io understands the common concerns related to RTLS implementation and has addressed these to provide a seamless transition.

  • Fast Deployment: Kontakt.io delivers the fastest time to value available for RTLS implementation, going live and fully active in a 400-bed hospital in less than two weeks.
  • Platform vs. point solution: Go beyond operational data silos. Kontakt.io is capable of facilitating multiple use cases, from medical device management and staff safety to patient flow, thereby optimizing hospital operations throughout the entire inpatient journey. A facility may initially focus on one aspect, but to maximize return on investment (ROI) it’s essential to utilize a future-proof platform and diminish the total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Ease of Use: Kontakt.io solutions prioritize user-friendliness, enabling self-service functionalities tailored to healthcare requirements and diverse user personas such as nurses, security officers, and clinical engineers. This approach minimizes the necessity for extensive training. 
  • Scalable Solution Enterprise-Wide: The RTLS solution should easily scale with your organization’s growth, capable of expanding in coverage and functionality without significant additional costs or complexity. Kontakt.io meets this need perfectly as it is fully scalable and flexible to adapt to changing needs.

Kontakt.io’s RTLS platform integrates seamlessly with your existing network infrastructure, providing you with an efficient platform to view essential data, communicate with staff, and perform all vital functions to run your healthcare facility. Our fast deployment time ensures there is no disruption to patient care.

Future Trends and Innovations in RTLS for Patient Safety

RTLS offers solutions that keep patients safe. As emerging technologies in RTLS continue to advance, hospitals can take advantage of the latest applications to revolutionize patient safety and provide the best possible level of care and security to everyone who moves through their facility. Some of the promising technologies currently shaping the future of patient security include the following.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

BLE technology is one of the best for RTLS because it provides big value compared to other options. Not only is BLE the most affordable, but it’s also very effective, long-lasting, and future-proof.

Wearable Devices

Wearable badges and tags greatly improve staff and patient tracking, flow, and safety. Increased instances of workplace violence and patient elopement demand better ways for staff to signal duress and monitor patients.

Equipment Inventory and Maintenance Tracking

Real-time inventory visibility and asset tracking keep your facility prepared for daily procedures and medical emergencies by ensuring essential equipment is available for use on demand. Ensure staff have access to clean and hygienic supplies, stay informed on asset maintenance and repair status, and keep the proper levels of inventory stocked to lower purchasing costs.

Data Analytics

Your healthcare facility constantly provides huge amounts of data that you can collect and analyze to identify trends, generate insights, and inform your decisions. Use data analysis to:

  • Create automated reports.
  • Understand where your facility is experiencing a waste of resources.
  • Learn of any areas where your compliance is in question so you can correct issues before they become larger problems.
  • Discover staff practices on hand hygiene.

The longer you use data analytics, the more complete your information is, helping you address current problems and make better decisions for the future.

Digital Information Portals

RTLS improves communication and information-sharing, allowing you to provide a digital patient portal for patients to access their healthcare data, schedule appointments, pay bills, navigate through the facility, and more.

RTLS will continue to evolve to address new challenges in healthcare settings. Kontakt.io’s platform is built to integrate with other software with an open system that is easily updated to leverage any future innovations. New technologies focused on improving efficiency and accuracy while delivering insights to inform your decision-making all point toward a continuance of enhanced safety driving more positive patient outcomes.

Final Thoughts

Patient safety is one of the main priorities in healthcare delivery. RTLS technology assists you in ensuring patient safety through enhanced tracking and faster response capabilities. By adopting RTLS solutions in your facility, you can elevate your hospital’s standards of patient care and safety.

Contact us today to learn more about Kontakt.io’s solutions for healthcare and how our platform can improve patient safety, streamline your workflows, and increase your margins. RTLS technology offers numerous advantages to solve use cases for asset tracking, staff security and job satisfaction, and patient safety and experience. Speak with one of our team members to discover our platform’s value to your facility.