Airedale hospital uses Wi-Fi-based location system to track IV pumps

23 May

Airedale NHS Trust in West Yorkshire, England, is deploying a pioneering real-time location system (RTLS) from Ekahau to streamline the workflow and improve availability of intravenous (IV) pumps.

The Trust will use the RTLS solution to track IV pumps across various buildings on the hospital campus using the hospital's existing Wi-Fi network infrastructure and ID tags attached to each pump.

The goal of the RTLS solution is to optimize use of medical devices within the hospital and identify future applications for tracking and tracing technology. At any given moment the IV pumps can be tracked to within approximately 3 metres, which will save the resources required to manually locate the devices.

The RTLS system also will streamline stock control, ensuring that pumps are available when needed and minimizing the time taken to allocate a pump to a patient.

"Airedale NHS Trust is leveraging its wireless network to generate operational benefits resulting from location services," said Rebecca Malin, IT project manager at Airedale NHS Trust. "Our use of RTLS will enable us to more efficiently use medical equipment and thus support our application of the LEAN process management methodology."

Siemens Healthcare is leading the project, which includes the provision of workflow consultancy working in partnership with the Trust's IT Department and LEAN Teams. The foundation of the solution is RTLS software from Ekahau Inc. Also being used are Wi-Fi tags from Ekahau that work as any other standard Wi-Fi network-connected device, requiring no special configuration or additional readers.

Systems integrator Qolcom, will be installing the Siemens Healthcare WLAN network in the hospital and using Ekahau Site Survey tool to simply and easily ensure network signal strength for location tracking applications throughout the facility.

"RFID is an exciting technology that can be used in many ways to help Airedale NHS Trust deliver rapid and high standard of care to patients," said Dorothy Michel, head of Strategic Development for Healthcare at Siemens. "Redesigning workflow also will help shape the entire healthcare organization into leaner process management. By working in partnership with the hospital's IT team we can also discover a wider array of opportunities for other uses of RTLS within the hospital environment."

"Being able to track highly portable items, such as IV pumps, will greatly improve workflow and productivity," said Barry Read, Business Development Manager at Ekahau, "Our Wi-Fi tags enable accurate, real-time tracking, while our software enables users to know the current and historic locations of assets throughout the facility."

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