Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 09, 2009

Healthcare Technology and News: Radianse RTLS Helps Emory Hospital Monitor Patients

Radianse has deployed its Real Time Location System (RTLS) for the Emergency Department (ED) of Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta primarily to collect live data via RTLS to eventually be able to detect a contagious disease such as influenza and thereby prevent it from infecting other patients and staff.
"Radianse immediately understood the challenge and how to enable this use model," said Steve Schiefen, Chief Executive Officer, Radianse. “To be able to accurately and discreetly track the patient/provider interaction is a fundamental tool for this type of research.”
While the RTLS is used to record the location, movement, interaction and duration of each contact between patient and staff, its functions and all-round utility value are allegedly being used to guarantee that the concerned patient is in the designated place at the correct time to help in avoiding embarrassing situations such as delay in administering life saving remedies and bringing a patient in for an operation intended for another patient.
"Our work requires that we measure interactions among ED patients and staff to the second and do so consistently and without disruption to care," said Douglas Lowery-North, Vice Chair of Clinical Operations and Lead Investigator of the Tracking Project, Emory Hospital. "We use the data in a number of ways, notably to quickly and accurately identify and contain infectious disease."
The way in which the solution is allegedly being used in the hospital is that patients are asked to wear wrist-bands mounted with Radio Frequency Identity (RF ID) tags and staff is required to wear pocket clip-on RF ID tags. These tags communicate two ways with Wi-Fi Access points that are connected to the hospital’s wired network.
The information is then transported to a common resource control center such as a server or desktop that contains the Radiance Smart Sense software, which in turn calculates locations, records interactions, and updates the database at pre-programmed time intervals. Depending on the severity of the patient’s diagnosis, appropriate alerts are immediately sent out to designated recipients for initiating and implementing predefined action plans.
The entire system operates at the government recommended and regulatory frequency of 433MHz that does not interfere with the frequency of mobile phone conversations and any life critical equipment such as defibrillators, X-ray and heart lung machines.
Contractual agreement allegedly required to Radianse to modify their platform to accommodate what the hospital considered significant interactions that were at least of 30 seconds duration and within a radius of 1 meter.
“We built our platform and applications from the ground up to gather sophisticated intelligence around identity, time, location and context -- intelligence that helps hospitals improve clinical effectiveness," said Schiefen.
HealthTechZone had earlier reported a similar RTLS system that provided resource location accuracy within a 6 inch radius.

Vivek Naik is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Vivek's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

FREE eNewsletter

Click here to receive your targeted Healthcare Technology Community eNewsletter.
[Subscribe Now]