Why Choose Asset Tag 2 for Room-Level Medical Asset Tracking

5 November 2021

There's never an IV pump or, worse, a defibrillator around when you need one. Medical asset tracking is key to improving patient outcomes, increasing staff productivity, and reducing equipment loss.

However, many RTLS legacy systems have their own problems. When introducing RTLS in your facility you want it to be future-proof, and older systems seldom offer that.

  • Problems with Legacy Real Time Tracking Systems
  • How Asset Tag 2 and Kio Cloud Make a Difference
  • How Kontakt.io Uses Your Existing Infrastructure Buy Asset Tag 2 with up to 8-year battery life

    Problems with Legacy Real Time Tracking Systems

    Legacy real-time tracking systems come with a variety of problems.

    1. Closed ecosystems. Their tags will only talk to their gateways, and their gateways won't talk to anyone else's tags. Hardware cross compatibility is typically rare. From the vendor's perspective, this makes a certain amount of sense. After all, they are there to make money. However, this can cause scalability issues. In the worst case scenario, the vendor goes out of business and you can no longer add to the system, hence you may be forced to install a completely new infrastructure from scratch. 
    2. Need for multiple vendors. Closed ecosystems feed right into needing multiple vendors. You might have one system for asset tracking, another for patient and visitor wayfinding, and yet a third for staff duress. And it’s unlikely that all these systems will talk to each other, leaving you with multiple software dashboards that you need to purchase, and train your staff how to use. This, needless to say, increases complexity and cost.
    3. Need for on-site servers. You need to have on-premises servers to handle all of that data. These then have to be managed by IT.
    4. High maintenance needs. Changing batteries every other year often costs a lot in terms of maintenance.
    5. Long time to value. Most of these systems require professional installation. Installers may need to run a lot of cable, causing expense and disruption. You also often have to subscribe to a maintenance service to keep everything running.

    How Asset Tag 2 and Kio Cloud Make a Difference

    Asset Tag 2 is different in a number of ways. First of all, it uses Kontakt.io's infrastructure, which is designed to be open-source, non-proprietary, and integrates with your existing BLE-enabled Wi-Fi infrastructure.

    Second of all, it is designed not to require heavy-duty installation but rather to work with plug-and-play components.

    How Kontakt.io Uses Your Existing Infrastructure

    Kontakt.io primarily uses two networking protocols: WiFi and Bluetooth ®  Low Energy. Asset Tag 2 and Portal Beam sensors use BLE, which has the advantage of being low cost and low energy, extending battery life considerably.

    They then connect to your existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, which is already BLE-enabled e.g. Cisco Catalysts access points or using a low-cost, plug and play gateway, e.g. Portal Light. Hospitals already have solid Wi-Fi capability to support uses ranging from patient and visitor connectivity to supporting electronic medical records systems.

    This saves significant time and money and doesn't require any disruption while the cable is laid. Portal Light gateways, for example, are simply plugged into whatever electronic outlet is convenient. They have pass-through capability to allow continued use of the socket.

    Our philosophy is to keep infrastructure investment to a minimum. The core of our technology is BLE, its popularity and range of use cases drive down the cost. It is also compatible with smartphones and tablets that also have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing systems to use smartphones as readers with no additional hardware.

    Additionally, we have systems that allow you to onboard and register your Asset Tag 2 devices (and other devices in the ecosystem), and configure all of them in bulk at once. You can configure thousands of devices Over-the-Air with a couple of clicks. This also reduces installation and deployment time and costs.

    How Does Asset Tag 2 Work?

    Asset Tag 2 is a key component of our real-time tracking system. It simply turns a physical portable medical device into a digital twin. In addition to BLE it is equipped with an IR receiver, which in combination with our Portal Beams and Location Engine allows room level certainty. Unlike BLE, IR cannot pass through walls, so it allows room-level tracking with 100% certainty.

    The tag is 1.9 inches square and 0.5 inches deep. It can be secured using double-sided tape or zip ties.

    The tag then talks to Portal Light gateway or Portal Beam beacons in the room, allowing the system to track the location of your asset in near real-time. Motion detection can be used to establish whether an asset has been moved recently and thus can be used to establish utilization. It will also tell the BLE  gateways when its battery life is low, although Asset Tag 2s can easily have 8-year battery life. This likely means you will never have to change the batteries, but rather will be upgrading to more advanced tags before then.

    Asset Tag 2 also has another highly valuable feature. Each tag has two buttons attached to it. These buttons are pre-programmable. You can, for example, program one button to flag the device as needing maintenance and the other to automatically page a higher level specialist to support an issue.

    Why Kio Cloud?

    Asset Tags 2 can be used with your own software through our API or with our Kio Cloud.

    Kio Cloud allows you to:

    1. Set alerts when an asset moves. For example, one use case might be to set alerts if a tagged asset passes into the laundry chute or the trash area. Telemetry monitors have an unfortunate tendency to be bundled up with dirty linens, and these alerts can support loss prevention by ensuring that they are retrieved before they are damaged.
    2. Locate all of your assets in real time in either list view or map view.
    3. Track asset utilization by floor and/or department, allowing you to establish whether device stocking levels are sufficient and where they can be optimized by, say, moving IV pumps from one floor to another.

    This allows your RTLS to become scalable. For example, you might start by tracking only inventory in key areas, such as the dirty closet or the clean room, and then expand to the entire hospital as it becomes feasible. This also allows for the easy use of pilot programs to convince C suite and financial personnel of the potential ROI.

    What Use Cases is Asset Tag 2 Particularly Suited To?

    Asset Tag 2 is designed for room-level tracking of medical assets. It is particularly useful for Periodic Automatic Replenishment (PAR). Keeping the right amount of inventory on hand can improve patient care(by ensuring levels are sufficient) and save money (by ensuring that you do not purchase devices you don't, in fact, need).

    As part of our ecosystem, it can support loss prevention by tracking assets in real-time. As already mentioned, you can set the system to alert you if an asset passes through a door it should not be going through. Our ecosystem can also make sure that contaminated devices not only make it to the dirty closet but make it to cleaning and maintenance in a timely manner. With Kio Cloud, you can find bottlenecks in this process and address them to ensure that your staff always have the equipment they need.

    How Does Asset Tag 2 Support Room Level Certainty?

    Most systems can manage 95% room-level certainty. We are pleased to note that Kontakt.io's ecosystem supports 99% certainty.

    How does Asset Tag 2 help us achieve this?

    In addition to BLE, Asset Tag 2 has infrared capability. When paired with our Portal Light and Portal Beam beacons, this allows for an IR handshake between the beacon and the tag.

    As IR is a form of light, it does not pass through walls. Therefore, if an asset shows as being inside a room then you can be sure it is in the room. Assets that are positioned inside cupboards will also not show up on IR, but real-time tracking allows you to determine that the asset was indeed taken into the room and not taken out, which tells staff it is in a storage cupboard or bin (or has rolled under a table). Even in these cases, thus, the time spent searching for missing equipment is significantly reduced.

    At Kontakt.io, our mission is to better connect people, locations, and things to create meaningful insights, safer workplaces and lessen waste through simple, affordable, and accessible solutions. Our focus on BLE and using existing infrastructure allows us to provide solutions with a lower cost of ownership, easier maintenance, and improved integration with other manufacturers.

    You can order your Asset Tags 2 here. You can also contact our sales team today, and they will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have on Kontakt.io RTLS asset tracking solutions and devices.

    Contact Sales Today

Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]