RTLS Use Cases in Hospitals
This blog is the beginning of a new series, RTLS Use Cases in Hospitals. We will be walking through all the different use cases for having Real Time Location Services (RTLS) in a hospital. To begin, we will be starting off with Call Assist.
Staff can find themselves in difficult or alarming situations in the course of their duties and need to call for assistance.
This may be nurses in the ED, or staff at the MHU. There are other vulnerable members of staff often overlooked, such as cleaning staff whom often work unsocial hours in areas of the hospital with few other people.
Sometimes this is because they suspect a patient or relative is likely to become violent, or a situation is arising in which they need support from other staff.
One option are staff tags – these are worn along with ID tags on a lanyard, belt loop, or clipped to clothing and provide the staff with an emergency call button. The two (or three) buttons can be programmed as required – typically the red button is a call assist button.
CenTrak offers an overlay network – this can support location of the tags based on a series of Second Generation Infrared beacons (no line-of-sight requirements) – so doesn’t need Wi-Fi if only this is to be used (typically Wi-Fi is used and then beacons are used as a complement in areas requiring zone certainty – for example Mental Health Units).
Tags come in two types:
900 MHz only: Dedicated network to communicate with the CenTrak system, and work in beacon based areas
MultiMode: Can support both Wi-Fi and 900MHz for complete flexibility – use Wi-Fi location most places and CenTrak beacon based location where high accuracy is really important
For a bit more infomation on the MultiMode option, see the CenTrak website.
Incidents can also be raised on WiFi phones with programmable buttons – this provides a method of providing those handset users with a way to raise a call.
The choice is tags or WiFi phones. Tags can also be used with beacons for zone certainly (and are also much less expensive than phones), however the flexibility to use either for call assist provides additional options for the system.
Task flows are a fundamental concept in the system design. Taking the people, tasks and assets together and doing something with the output is the point of the system.
In this case a phone is used to raise the call (it could also be a tag). The flow then is sent to the first line responders, who could be local staff based nearby. If anyone in this group accepts, the task flow stops there.
If no one in the local responder group accepts the task in a predetermined period of time, the task is escalated to the next level and send to the security group. The security guards them receive the task and can accept.
Hospital Call Assist: Summary
Call assist in hospitals is extremely valuable to the employees and to patients. Allowing for Alarms to be raised faster, call assist is one of the many ways that RTLS allows for hospitals to take better care of patients and help their employees stay safe.
Next week, we will be looking over another RTLS Use Case, covering Nurse Call Integration.