How Ultrasound Based RTLS is Fueling Innovation for Today’s Senior Care Communities

The accommodations of modern senior care communities are designed to appeal to adults and seniors with a wide range of abilities and interests. To help ensure the best possible care is provided to this diverse population, skilled nursing facilities and their staff assist residents in rehabilitation after knee or hip replacements, strokes, traumatic injuries, neurological conditions, or other health setbacks. In addition, facilities are increasingly dedicated to providing family members relevant information about their loved ones.

What sets forward-looking institutions apart is their emphasis on continuous improvement, including a willingness to adopt new technologies to inform and drive that process. To retain current residents, attract new ones, and drive return on investment, long-term care industries must constantly explore innovative ways to achieve the most effective and efficient care models possible.

To this end, one of the exciting and innovative technologies that many facilities have recently adopted is a Real-Time Location System (RTLS).

Meeting real needs in real time

In the past, RTLS was associated primarily with locating equipment and managing assets. With the advent of increasingly reliable and accurate RTLS performance, application of this technology has expanded to include even more substantial care-related uses such as patient/resident monitoring, safety and security measures, staff workflow applications, and time-stamped visibility and understanding of specific milestones in the care process.

RTLS solutions provide data-based insights that are necessary to align staff levels to cyclical needs, manage resources more efficiently, and attain the maximum patient/resident satisfaction through fast response and attention to individual needs. The most advanced of these RTLS solutions are built on ultrasound indoor positioning technology that delivers precise and immediate location and event-based information for any tagged object or badged individual.

Wireless tag and receiver technology provides indoor positioning accuracy (to specific chairs, beds, rooms, or area levels) by seamlessly transmitting and communicating location data to front end visualization and reporting software platforms.

The data generated by these systems allows healthcare facilities to make informed decisions regarding equipment location and staffing levels throughout assisted living facilities that are best suited to deliver a higher level and quality of care. It also yields important insights into many other factors which have tremendous influence on patient and resident health, safety, and satisfaction.

Better aligning staff levels

Before institutions can effectively implement any staffing changes, they need to understand work flow and patterns throughout their facilities.

RTLS can deliver the necessary data to help institutions identify staff patterns by time-stamping personnel related events and locations to triage the durations of their various tasks, among other things. In these ways, such technology provides real-time answers to vital questions including:

  • What daily events cause peaks and valleys in staffing needs?
  • Which staffing levels are required for routine activities such as bathing and meals?
  • How is patient/resident satisfaction impacted by staff capacity?
  • How are staff levels balanced based on when staff is most often with residents (time of day, day of week, etc.)?
  • What are staff response times and the frequency of visits?

With the data provided by integrated RTLS installations, staff and management of assisted living and long-term care facilities can gain valuable insights about workflow, including where additional staffing and equipment is required, and when staff response times are lagging so that they can put actions in place that will benefit both staff and patients/residents.

These insights not only allow them to optimize staffing, increase institutional efficiency and return on investment, but above all help increase staff responsiveness, resident care, and patient safety.

Ensuring resident health and safety

Indoor ultrasound positioning technologies provide immediate and measurable improvements to patient care in many ways. Many benefits can be derived from the analysis of data obtained from such systems, these can include giving staff the ability to call for assistance without leaving a resident’s side, allowing caregivers to quickly view performance metrics, and limiting the impact of outbreaks of flu or other illnesses by monitoring interactions between residents and caregivers.

RTLS can also provide discrete and flexible solutions to assist with situations that are potentially harmful to patients/residents such as patient wandering and access to unauthorized or sensitive areas. Real-time indoor positioning systems help locate individuals who have wandered or entered unauthorized areas by immediately and accurately pinpointing their exact location. This provides institutions the confidence they need to discretely keep patients safe without compromising freedom of movement.

RTLS can contribute to the prevention of any abuse and neglect conditions. Reliable room-level and sub-room level location technology accurately detects residents, staff, visitors, vendors and equipment within the rooms of the facility, which can provide necessary enabling information for security and safety.

Maintaining stakeholder relationships

Naturally, family members take a keen interest in the level and quality of care provided. Recognizing and honoring that, assisted living and long-term care facilities must focus on improving ways to understand the level of care each resident receives and to share that information with family members.

Since RTLS automatically provides specific, time-stamped data associated with unique resident locations and/or tags, the information is always readily available and can be clearly conveyed through reports including visual representations. This enables care providers to produce detailed logs of caregiver attendance and other care metrics to share with family members as well as regulatory agencies.

Satisfaction and consumer ratings

The increased visibility of this information not only delivers peace of mind to family members, but also gives directors and staff the confidence to know that through their hard work and attentiveness they are delivering the best care they can.

Perhaps most important in terms of resident (and family) satisfaction is the potential for RTLS to help improve response times when a resident calls for staff, given that the efficiency of RTLS systems can “create” more time for staff by driving operational efficiencies. So much of a facility’s consumer ratings hinge on this single factor and now assisted living and long term care have a powerful technology for measureable improvement. The reputation of a facility often rests on this, and attracting and retaining residents is key to a financially viable business.

Anne Bugge is the president and CEO at Sonitor Technologies Inc. Sandra Rasmussen is the senior vice president, Global Marketing and American Sales, at Sonitor Technologies.

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To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here.

Staffing Appropriately

Need Help Optimizing ED Staffing? Read This

Emergency Departments (EDs) are by far one of the trickiest departments to staff due to unpredictable variability in patient and staff acuity. From asset tracking to patient flow and work flow, the impact real time location systems (RTLS) can have on the ED has far-reaching implications hospital-wide. The role of RTLS in the ED continues to expand and is playing an increasingly important role in the effective and efficient staffing of emergency medical personnel.

RTLS has been a valuable emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but today, RTLS is playing an increasingly important role in improving healthcare workflow, efficiency, and productivity.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could pull census data from the system to reveal patterns of dips and spikes in staffing needs? Or if your nurses and clinicians could be automatically assigned to patients based on their proximity to them? Imagine if your facility could manage new patient placement by balancing area-specific acuity and workload? Or if your facility could pinpoint when and where delays occur and if they are a frequent occurrence? Imagine if your ED could identify and notify staff of exposure to communicable diseases, based upon their tracked interactions with patients – that without RTLS would be next to impossible to track – and replace those staff members with another that has less of a work load and patients to tend to as identified by your RTLS software?

With Sonitor® Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the necessary insights allowing them to staff efficiently and effectively based on data that is gathered in real-time. Through this greater visibility administrators can make more informed decisions on where and when to staff, your ED can avoid sending a high-risk patient to an area already overloaded, and staffing decisions can be made to avoid patient visit delays and/or staff work overload.

By applying Sonitor RTLS tags to your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you can provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of staff efficiency and productivity throughout the ED.

Sonitor’s RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and schedule your staff in real time.

Sonitor ‘s RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, knowing where a patient or a piece of equipment is in real time helps your ED anticipate and effectively plan work and schedule staff efficiently. With greater visibility into the status of patient rooms, operating rooms, and your overall ED—based on the movement of patients, staff, and equipment—more efficient scheduling can be realized, enabling quick turnover, optimizing throughput, improving patient flow, and ultimately increasing patient satisfaction.

To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here.

 

Communication and Patient Satisfaction

How Can RTLS Help You Communicate More Effectively to Improve Patient Satisfaction?

One of the most influencing factors driving patient satisfaction is communication. Three of the four measures RAND Corporation arrived at to assess a patient’s experience in the ED dealt with communication. By being able to provide accurate, reliable real-time location data through RTLS (real time location systems), a patient’s family can be better informed about the patient’s whereabouts and status, having a major influence on patient experience and satisfaction.

Imagine if your ED staff could know when a patient has been sent away from their room/bay for testing and where in the hospital they are physically located. Or imagine if your staff could tell a relative exactly where a patient is if they are not in their room and, with accuracy, how long they’ve been away. Imagine if you could immediately and in real time be notified exactly when a patient is entering a room and notify the appropriate doctors that the patient is ready to be seen. Or, if your staff could know and be notified that it is their turn in the process to visit the patient. Imagine the wasted minutes and hours searching and waiting for patients or staff that could be eliminated if your facility was communicating these critically important pieces of patient information.

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to inform concerned family members on the whereabouts of their family member in real time, share their progress in real time, and avoid miscommunications which can negatively impact a patient’s, and their family’s experience. By using Sonitor® RTLS to monitor and locate your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you arm your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview patient progression throughout the ED.

Sonitor Sense™ RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your patients and communicate important information in real time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, communication and patient satisfaction are greatly increased limiting the amount of wasted time and negative experiences for your patients and staff. Sonitor Sense RTLS can help improve communication and patient satisfaction in the ED by equipping computers in visitor areas with real time location data that can be used by hospital staff to update a patient’s loved ones on their whereabouts. It can share the progress of the patient in real time, avoiding miscommunications that can send family members to an empty room. RTLS can help your facility provide an overall impression of efficiency, ultimately leading to greater patient satisfaction across the scale.

 To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here.

Faster Room Turnover

How Can RTLS Increase Your ED’s Room Turnover?

Patient wait times in the ED can play a key role in patient satisfaction and the quality of care delivered. Based on insights that RTLS (real time location system) analytics can enable, saving just one minute of a nurse’s time per patient per day over the course of one year, could translate into the necessary time for an LPN to care for several hundred more patients. This means more patients entering your facility, and thus greater return on investment (ROI).

Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to increasing your facility’s room turnover rate.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your EVS staff could automatically and in real time be notified that a room is ready for cleaning? Or if your staff could speed up even the most basic of tasks, such as cleaning and preparing the patient room or bay between patients? Or if at the push of a button, your staff can inform the facility that a patient has been discharged and a bed is ready and prepped for the next patient?

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’—it’s possible. RTLS is providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to reduce patient wait times by having faster room turnover rates, having a direct, positive impact on staff workflow and staffing levels. By using Sonitor® RTLS tags to locate and monitor patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, real time bed or bay-level status information.

By leveraging RTLS, basic tasks such as cleaning and prepping rooms or bays between patients can be accelerated and as a result, room turnover can be significantly sped up throughout your facility. Specific staff that have been assigned to bed turnover are easily informed, via immediate notification through RTLS (once a patient’s badge is dropped off), that their bed is vacant. Such notifications allow EDs to fill empty beds faster, improving productivity and increasing revenue, which is linked to greater patient satisfaction and higher quality care.

Sonitor Sense RTLS can help reduce the time patients spend waiting by identifying vacant rooms and reducing delays, allowing more time for patient care and potentially shortening their time in the ED. By providing your facility with greater visibility, your staff and patients progress through their perioperative journey and key clinical milestones as fast and thorough as possible—ultimately allowing your facility to confidently do more with less.

To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here.

Optimizing Throughput

How Can RTLS Help Your ED Run at Peak Performance?

We know today’s ED  can be faced with so many diverse challenges. Whether it’s accelerating and optimizing patient flow and throughput, improving and optimizing staff workflow and productivity, maximizing and optimizing resource and spatial capacity, or improving overall patient and financial outcomes, these challenges can impact staff morale, patient satisfaction and the bottom line. As a result, facilities  need solutions that deliver efficiencies and help contain growth in medical cost while still delivering consistent high-quality care. Your facility could be facing one or more of these challenges, and we have the solution – RTLS.

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) have been a valuable, emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to optimizing throughput.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could minimize crucial minutes  wasted looking for other members of staff, patients, or equipment? Or if your facility could analyze when and where delays occur, and distinguish between delays that are a frequent or a rare occurrence? Imagine if all this data could be accessed by other departments so that inter-department communication and collaboration could be seamlessly accelerated? Or if your facility’s ED could evaluate and monitor in real time the effectiveness of proposed and implemented changes and performance initiatives?

With Sonitor® Sense ™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’—it’s possible. Real Time Location Systems are providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to avoid wasting money on one-off problems and deploy resources (such as additional staff) more appropriately. By tagging mobile medical equipment (beds, wheel chairs, IV pumps, etc.) and providing patients and staff with RTLS badges,  your emergency medical staff will have instant, real time access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of workflow efficiency to best optimize throughput.

As a result, facilities can easily draw from the detailed data real time locating systems gather to help inform meaningful, long-term changes to the facility layout, patient flow, and overall workflow performance. ED’s can proactively manage staff scheduling and equipment locations. RTLS can even gauge whether delays within the ED are anomalies or consistent inefficiencies; and being able to distinguish between what is common and what is not is imperative to avoid wasting money and critical patient face-time, thus allowing staff to work proactively rather than playing catch-up.

RTLS can help EDs monitor the effectiveness of a facility’s implemented changes. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) states that, “project-specific data collected during the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) process to test small-scale process improvements … is one of the most effective levers for achieving and sustaining process improvements.” To distinguish between which initiatives are proving to be successful and which are consuming staff time and energy can help executives make the right decisions regarding ED operations and ultimately deliver improved staff morale, higher patient satisfaction and an increase to the bottom line.

To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here

Improving Patient Flow

How Can RTLS Benefit the Emergency Department (ED)?

Patient flow measures, including but not limited to, arrival to departure for admitted and discharged patients, decision to admit, door-to-diagnostic evaluation, and “left before being seen”—will soon be among the various clinical quality measures of EDs. In other words, your facility will soon be, if it is not already, reporting ED measures to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These measures are directly tied to hospital reimbursement and can significantly impact patient satisfaction.

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) have been a valuable, emerging technology in healthcare for several years now. Traditionally RTLS has been leveraged for asset and equipment tracking and management – but consider the value it could deliver to improving patient flow.

Imagine The Possibilities

Imagine if your ED could eliminate wasted minutes and hours searching and waiting for patients? Or if your staff could automatically be notified that it’s their turn in the process to visit the patient?  Imagine if you could know and be notified exactly when that patient is entering a room? Or if you could immediately and in real time be notified that the patient is now ready for a doctor? Or that the patient is not in their room/bay but has been sent for an MRI and where in the hospital they are physically located? Imagine being able to tell a relative exactly where the patient is if they are not in their room and with accuracy how long they’ve been away.

With Sonitor Sense™ RTLS, there is no need to ‘imagine’ – it’s possible.  Real Time Location Systems are providing hospitals and medical facilities with the ability to accelerate patient flow and shorten patient wait times, without affecting clinical quality, thus improving patient satisfaction. By applying Sonitor® RTLS tags to your facility’s patients, beds, staff, and equipment, you essentially provide your emergency medical staff with access to accurate, bed or bay-level location information, and an overview of patient flow efficiency.

Sonitor Sense RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data. Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your patients in real time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS core positioning technology, powered by SmartZoning™ technology, is based on ultrasound which delivers the most consistently accurate and reliable location data. Unlike other technologies used in RTLS (ex. radio frequency and infrared), ultrasound signals are contained by walls, floors, ceilings and even windows and glass partitions. In addition, virtual walls can be easily created to provide sub-room and chair level resolution with up to four distinct zones created with a single device.

As a result, patient flow can easily be monitored and optimized. This can help move patients through the ED more efficiently and ensure that the right patients, staff, and equipment are in the right location at the right time.

Sonitor Sense RTLS can help reduce the time spent searching for patients, staff and equipment, allowing more time for patient care and potentially shortening their time in the ED. These benefits can directly impact patient flow metrics helping to ultimately improve the clinical quality measures of EDs that need to be reported to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

To learn more about Sonitor RTLS, click here.

IT’S BUDGETING SEASON, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR ASSETS ARE?

With budget season upon us, you and your staff are hard at work putting together your facility’s needs. Decisions on where to invest need to be made. Wouldn’t it be great if your team could provide you with:

  • Utilization data & statistics of all your mobile medical equipment
  • Exact inventory levels in real time
  • Rental vs. owned equipment requirements
  • Equipment downtime

Sonitor Sense ™ RTLS Helps You Manage Your Assets with Ease

Sonitor’s Sense RTLS provides unparalleled, accurate, and reliable indoor positioning data.

Combining the highest level of accuracy and the fastest update rates the market has to offer, Sonitor’s RTLS can help you track, locate, and manage your assets in real time. You can be confident that your technology will be efficient, flexible, scalable, and have an easy deployment. Ultimately, you will witness a proven low cost of ownership over your products life cycle.

Click here to learn more.