Technology for locating and tracking employees, visitors, and other occupants of any sizable facility is now recognized as a powerful innovation for increasing safety, responding to emergencies, enabling more effective communication, and enhancing overall productivity.
Few if any types of facilities have greater potential to benefit from Bluetooth tags and monitoring systems than the spectrum of healthcare facilities: community/teaching hospitals, federal government hospitals, psychiatric institutions, long-term care facilities, and many others. A white paper from the Centre for Health Solutions of the international consulting firm Deloitte discussed how Bluetooth badges and related technology are transforming health care and social care.
The safe and efficient operation of these facilities depends perhaps more than anything else on communication and collaboration of all staff at all levels—communication that is fast and reliable in emergencies—and the staff monitoring of patients.
Bluetooth beacon healthcare tracking solution is cloud-based software for tracking staff members, patients, and assets in real-time. It is easy to use and helps healthcare administrators and managers to improve in-patient safety, serviceability, and hospital maintenance. Using the software along with the beacon badges and gateway devices allows accurate tracking, attendance and security monitoring, and safe operation of healthcare facilities. The system can be accessed from a desktop or mobile devices by authorized persons, making its benefits available from any point in the facility by appropriate staff.
BLE Card Tags for staff tracking and hardware are constantly refined to meet precisely the challenges that face any size healthcare facility:
With continuous staff tracking/location on gateway monitoring, tasks as simple as tracking attendance (no lining up to "check-in") and as diverse as finding and summoning physician, nursing, and other staff to a patient room, the emergency room, or any surgical/laboratory/technology suite are easier than ever. They no longer require a search, paging, or phone calls. With wristbands or cards, the system automatically registers every time a tag holder enters or exits the facility or a specific area of it. Any authorized staff member can locate and reach other staff at gateway locations. This increases efficiency and visibility throughout any facility. For example, there is no need to guess about when a staff member heading for the surgical suite or ER will arrive.
With BLE technology, emergencies can be handled more rapidly and efficiently. All required personnel can be located and summoned virtually simultaneously, reducing critical lag times. The reliability and speed of the system reduce the need for gathering and waiting at the ER and other locations. The same efficient response is available for getting any required staff for an emergency in any patient room. Of course, in the case of a rare but unfortunately possible facility emergency such as fire or police action, the system instantly and reliably proves its invaluable functionality.
BLE tag technology reduces the time and increases the efficiency of staff in monitoring the real-time movement and location of all patients anywhere in the facility. With patients in hospital care who take recommended exercise within the purview of a nursing station, the task might be limited to locating them for a scheduled treatment. But at residential facilities, including those for seniors and for psychiatric patients, the wider daylong movement of patients must take account of both unanticipated behavior and unexpected risks. Tags for patients not only makes their location constantly visible on gateway screens; their tags can be equipped with signals to alert them. These signals can be generated by staff or for certain defined situations be made automatically. Patient falls, wandering beyond limits, entering patient rooms or other rooms, conflicts between patients—these are just a few examples of emergencies immediately signaled by beacon badge technology.
Beacon wayfinding technology also can help visitors to your facility in a multitude of ways. Finding rooms, physician offices, other facilities, and other destinations can be assisted by temporary tags that also increase safety by monitoring visitor locations at all times. The technology also applies to contract workers, deliveries, and special services. With real-time location information, the experience of the patient and the patient's family can be improved with turn-by-turn navigation.
Responsibility for healthcare facility staff for routine but necessary tasks such as compliance with regulations for daily inventorying medicines, compliance with other requirements such as temperature control in facilities, and need to check doors of off-limits facilities can be automated by use of Bluetooth technology. So can staff night-time checks to verify patients are in their rooms, that restrooms are clear, and emergency equipment is back in place.
Studies show that a significant loss or misplacement of expensive equipment, instruments, and other hospital assets has forced some hospitals to keep larger inventories of owned or rented equipment to make them available when needed. At the same time, staff time is often spent searching for equipment or instruments of this kind. BLE technology can tag all such assets, including, for example, wheelchairs or infusion pumps, so they can be located immediately from any gateway station. The larger the facility, the larger this problem may be.
Studies regularly report that hospital personnel, including nurses, are at risk of being attacked on the premises of the facility and report a level of fear in certain circumstances and places. Beacon badge technology not only monitors the movement and location of all staff but includes on each badge emergency signaling buttons that staff can use to summon help to their known locations. In large facilities, there are certain areas and certain times of the day that are reported by staff to raise concerns. Card Tags emergency signaling can reduce these fears and increase safety.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for hospitals to deal with more—and more frequently contagious—patients, safety routines as simple but essential as hand washing for all staff took on greater urgency. Limiting certain kinds of contact also became an issue as unnecessary meetings and meetings of certain sizes were limited. BLE technology was able to be adapted and refined to make monitoring more efficient. Limited-access facilities for which authorization is required can be accessed without a key and the entry and exit of staff members is tracked in real-time and a record is made. This is only one of the physical access control systems made possible—and controlled from a single system location—by the technology.
Apart from those specific issues, of course, tracking patients and staff from the point of view of exposure to infection and spreading contagion have become essential functions. BLE technology has been adapted to tracking functionalities in medical facilities of all types and sizes. Not only is real-time tracking possible, but the data automatically collected and analyzed by Beacon badge technology is available for tracing earlier contacts of specific individuals—and trails of contacts—when an infected individual is identified.
For the most part, hospitals and other health care facilities such as nursing homes cannot allow their employees to work remotely. With employees still regularly reporting for work and interacting with other staff and patients, contract tracing is obviously crucial for hospitals to reduce uncertainty among staff and reassure patients. This applies especially to a hospital or nursing home's elderly patients or patients with comorbidities that make them highly vulnerable to COVID-19. The contract tracing-using Beacon cards can help prevent employees and visitors from entering a high-potential risk area and thus increase confidence in working in and visiting your facility.
The COVID-19 health crisis has created an unprecedented amount of insecurity and fear among many individuals. People are more aware than ever of the potential to spread germs and get sick when they come into contact with others. High-risk individuals, including both the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, have been forced to increase the measures they take to protect themselves. This can make the difference in some cases between choosing one facility over another. In our recent blog post, we described how the Bluetooth badges system can be applied by health care facilities for a range of contact tracing solutions and for real-time monitoring to ensure safety in the facility.
Bluetooth Low Energy reliable beacons and tags are part of a wireless personal area network technology designed and developed for novel applications in healthcare and other industries. For these and many other problems and challenges, Kontakt.io's portfolio of complete IoT and location solutions, designed with beacons and software and on a cloud platform, provides systems that are affordable and easy to install and setup. Bluetooth 5-compatible devices provide four times the battery performance of comparable Wi-Fi and RFID tags. Our Card Tag can last up to three years and has a 40-meter range. The reliable hardware from Kontakt.io is used by more than 20,000 customers in half-a-dozen major industries to deliver enterprise-grade security and outstanding battery performance. Everything is easy to deploy, with beacons and tags that have pre-configured profiles (iBeacon, Eddystone, or both), identifiers, and settings.
To learn more about these innovative, novel products for health care, get in touch with our team today. We can discuss your individual requirements and use cases and work out proposals for a viable solution to your operating challenges. The first step is starting the conversation. You can set up a demonstration of our products and capabilities of the system at any time.
And be sure to check back here regularly for information, insights, and updates on all aspects of tracking solution technology and how healthcare facilities are using it today. To follow news from Kontakt, sign up to our newsletter.
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The form factor of badge beacons make them a favorite in offices, warehouses and other facilities across a number of industries. They’re wearable, they don’t get in the way and they deliver the full functionality of proximity-based solutions—what’s not to like?
Don’t have time to read it now?
Our very own Card Tag CT18-3 has proven to be a big hit because of its versatility and convenience. Adopting the familiar form of a card and fitting into wallets and accessories like lanyards lets it go where employees go without interfering with, well, anything. Being small, mobile and unobtrusive has led to card tags being used in a number of useful and creative ways.
You might even say that card beacons open a lot of doors to a long list of business applications, including literally opening doors. A bit of beacon humor there...
Anyway, our month-long celebration here on our blog of Kontakt.io’s sixth anniversary comes to a close with this list of six things Card Tags can do to make businesses more productive, efficient and secure.
We’ll start with an easy one here. Badges can be programmed to authorize the holder to enter different areas of a workplace or other facility by disabling electronic door locks. This is commonly used as a way to grant access to all employees to the main entrance of a workplace but the same principle can be reconfigured to work with internal doors as well. For example, the cards can be used in a way that only grants certain people access to certain areas, which can be very useful for security purposes in sensitive environments.
This has particular relevance to facilities that welcome large numbers of visitors, vendors or others who will be on site temporarily. With Card Tags, they can be issued a card that will only give them access to limited, approved areas and keep them in areas where they are meant to be. As with anyone using a Card Tag CT18-3, their exact movements are tracked and recorded, along with the precise times when the card they were given was used. And speaking of recording times…
When card holders open doors and move from area to area, those actions are recorded and that data is easily stored and managed. In addition to everything else they can do, badges make the perfect mobile time card to electronically punch in and out at work. Doing so doesn’t even have to be tied to completing an action, like opening a door. Simply being within range of a sensor is enough to register that card holder as being on site.
This function alone is the basis for many customer use cases since it eliminates the inefficient and often inaccurate conventional way of managing employee attendance records. With cards, there’s no more forgetting to clock in or out and hours worked by a particular employee, shift or department can be precisely calculated at any time. This is not only useful for calculating costs and guarding against excessive overtime, but also as documentation for compliance measures regarding workplace and employee safety.
This is more than just the inverse of the first item in this list. Using cards to regulate which areas of a facility can be accessed by whom and under what conditions is fundamental to a number of workplace safety and security considerations.
Let’s cover safety first. Factories, hospitals or other operations with potentially hazardous environments can use Card Tag to restrict access to those areas to employees on an approved list. Only those who are trained, equipped or otherwise permitted to enter a room or area can do so. There’s no need to worry about unauthorized access unless someone’s card is used improperly. As with other operations, every entrance and exit is recorded and time-stamped. In the event of an accident, full documentation of who was where and when will be available.
Security is another concern for facilities with, for example, sensitive data, expensive inventory or other assets requiring an additional layer of safekeeping. The same principle of restricting access applies here as well. Cards allow you to control who can enter areas where security is a concern. Again, full documentation is always available should it be necessary to reconstruct the flow of employees into and out of a particular room or point in the building.
In both cases, safety and security, access can be granted or revoked remotely and instantly, without the need to physically handle a particular card.
We’ve written before about tools that you hope you never need but are still “musts” in large facilities. One of them is a feature that can be added to Card Tag—a button that sends out a signal, which effectively acts as a “panic” button in many contexts.
This use case has obvious utility in many settings but the healthcare and hospitality industries in particular have recognized the value of being able to call for help from often remote or isolated locations. Panic buttons can save valuable time when every second counts and other forms of communication aren’t available or accessible. With panic buttons, there’s no need to find, for example, some internal telecommunications device, call the right number and explain the situation and location of the issue.
When a panic button is activated, the identity of the card holder and his or her location is recognized immediately. An alert is sent to the appropriate authority and the rescue/help mission is set in motion. The button’s utility lies in the speed and ease with which people in distress, or people helping someone in distress, can call for help—just press the button and that’s it.
Again, it’s a feature that you hope you don’t need but you absolutely want it in the kind of desperate moments that you just can’t plan for.
Try looking down on a factory floor or museum space and count the number of people there. Now, follow their movements and keep an eye on new people who join them. How many can you track? Can you even make it to double digits?
RTLS (Real-time locating systems) using Card Tags can. In fact, they can handle a lot more than double digits. The total number of people in an area, their movements and concentrations—information that can be relevant and useful to many use cases and contexts.
Managing visitor or people flow can be an important part of the customer experience or, more importantly, employee safety. It can also help in the full utilization of spatial capacity and, in turn, more efficient use of resources.
Let’s say that, for safety reasons, you can only have a certain number of people in a given area at once. Card tags are the solution—they can alert you when that maximum is reached. Or maybe you want to remotely check the level of crowding in part of a facility that you can’t see from where you are. Again, card tags deliver answers.
Historical data can be analyzed to tell you which parts of a facility are over- or under-utilized and identify bottlenecks in the flow of people, visitors or employees. When you can see a digital representation of real-world traffic, it’s easier to make the often minor adjustments that help to even out the flow.
This one might be obvious after everything else we’ve covered here but this basic application of tracking abilities made possible by wearable tags and badges is still, by itself, enough to make them worthwhile. Isn’t the ability to instantly locate anyone with a badge one of the clearest business benefits imaginable? In large facilities especially, it’s a huge time and resource saver. No need to tie up Person A with the task of finding Person B when Person C can just check the RTLS interface and get an instant answer.
But here’s where this last entry on the list goes beyond the previous five. Until now, we’ve focused on tracking and managing people, but the same wearable badges that make that possible can also be affixed to assets, like machines, tools and other elements in a manufacturing process or inventory.
Think of the downtime avoided by being able to instantly locate an asset that has been misplaced or not returned to its proper station. No need to manually search for it when you can access its location as easily as looking something up online. The digital twin of individual units of product, pallets in shipment or anything else with a tag attached to it can be seen in virtual space and its physical world counterpart located in seconds.
Imagine the impact on your bottom line when you spend a tiny fraction of the time usually required to locate all the moving parts of a complex manufacturing, warehousing or production facility.
Now you can see how something the size of your driver’s license can play a key role in so many aspects of the operation of a huge range of business environments. If you think card tags might be something than can transform some aspect of your own operations but you’re not sure how to get started, contact use here.
Continuing on our mission of simplifying IoT, Kontakt.io is proud to announce two big additions to our core offering in 2018. The first is the launch of not one, not two, but THREE new products! But wait…. there's more! We are opening the Kontakt.io Platform to third-party Bluetooth devices so that you can quickly and easily onboard any Bluetooth device to the Kontakt.io Platform, facilitating countless new business cases. Read more here. This is yet another step in Kontakt.io’s commitment to reduce the complexity associated with IoT solutions while improving business outcomes.
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Over the past 6 years, we have developed the industry's most advanced beacons, tags, Bluetooth LE firmware and IoT device management platform built for IT professionals. And we aren’t stopping here. Over the last few years, as the number and variety of IoT use cases have been increasing, so too has the need for different features, sensors, and form factors for IoT products. That’s why we have been enhancing our core devices and developing brand new products for you, our users.
After popular demand, we bring you the Kontakt.io Bracelet Tag (BT18-3), the first Kontakt.io tag in the form of a bracelet. It is equipped with a button, motion sensor and temperature sensor to improve the safety and security in areas as diverse as elderly care facilities, hospitals, workplaces, schools, and cruise ships.
The BT18-3 allows caretakers, administrators or parents instant access to the location of the user. In a school, at an amusement park, or around a hospital building, this tracking device provides real-time location to ensure the continuous safety and security of the user.
With BT18-3 you can:
The Kontakt.io Card Tag CT18-3 is the successor to our Card Beacon CT16-2. It is IP65 compliant and equipped with a button, temperature and motion sensors. CT18-3 is designed for improving safety and security within the hospitality industry, schools, and workplaces.
ID badges are used in almost every workplace, from hotels to factories, very often the worker are required to carry their badges and additional devices to help them communicate with one another. Continuing on our mission of simplifying IoT, our goal is to reduce the number of devices you need to carry in order to perform your role effectively and be reached in case of an emergency. That is what the CT18-3 accomplishes.
With the CT18-3 you can:
Introducing the Tough Beacon TB18-2, IP65 compliant, equipped with temperature and motion sensor, TB18-2 is the successor to the Tough Beacon TB15-1. With a ruggedized casing, more than 7 years of battery life and a Bluetooth 5 ready chipset, the Tough Beacon TB18-2 is the new go-to outdoor beacon for asset tracking, wayfinding, and condition monitoring. RWe has eliminated the problem of replacing the batteries every 1-2 years by empowering the TB18-2 with two batteries that can last for more than 7 years on a 1-second interval.
With the TB18-2 you can:
Proudly announcing that the Kontakt.io Cloud Platform is now open to third-party Bluetooth devices! Providing complete control and management of all Bluetooth devices through a single platform. This means that all of the features and use cases made possible by the Kontakt.io hardware and Platform are now readily available to all Bluetooth devices. Read more here.
We also can’t wait to hear from you! Tell us what think about our new product lineup or share any questions or comments you might have below.
Need more? If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us.
|Bluetooth Tag S18-3||Asset Tag S18-3|
|Bluetooth Beacon SB18-3||Smart Beacon SB18-3|
|Beacon Pro||Beacon Pro BP16-3|
|USB Beacon||USB Beacon UB16-2|
|Tough Beacon||Tough Beacon TB15-1|
|Card Beacon||Card Tag CT16-2|
|Beacon||Smart Beacon SB16-2|