Locating systems have become an integral part of many Canadian facilities. GPS signals are not effective indoors, but various systems have evolved to provide the same functionality for indoor navigation. Tracking people and objects has many benefits to the healthcare industry. The key to successful indoor systems is choosing the technology and application that best suits specific environments.
🏥 Systems for Healthcare
In a typical indoor positioning system, location sensors identify RFID tags and communicate with the location software to locate a particular tag. These RFIDs can be embedded in employee badges or permanently affixed to mobile equipment. A number of different software applications can receive data from the location software to display real-time locations of all or particular tags. In very large facilities, different location engines can be synchronized to create a comprehensive area of coverage.
This can have simple uses such as locating a certain piece of equipment to monitoring the activities of nursing staff or directing visitors or contractors as a GPS for indoors. Badges or tags can be assigned temporarily or permanently to track and provide data used to regulate admissions, discharges, medical records, bed management, and a wide range of other applications to improve workflow of both objects and people, leading to better efficiency, equipment and supply management.
🏥 Interactive Systems for People
Tags can also be outfitted with push (call) buttons for emergency response. When a call button is pushed the location software can raise an alert that also provides the location of the person who triggered it.
Fixed location sensors can also be set up with buzzers. Occasionally an ID badge is lost by a patient, or a patient or visitor may wander into a restricted area. Location sensors can detect the badge signal (or lack of one) and send an alert to a central station. Badges that are lost or stolen can also be tracked on premises using virtual indoor maps.
🏥 Equipment Tags
When affixed to equipment they can also be used to toggle status, such as bed occupied/unoccupied or MRI scanner ready/malfunctioning.
Any number of sensors may also be incorporated into tags or strategically placed to provide data about the surrounding environment, such as proper operating temperature, or humidity level.
Fixed tags and sensors can connect equipment to digital networks to store ongoing data for day-to-day monitoring of human traffic and device usage that can be used to analyze traffic and efficiency, thus helping to reduce costs and improve patient care.
With the scalability and flexibility of indoor navigation technologies, facilities from small clinics to major hospitals throughout Canada can take advantage of these systems to monitor valuable equipment, patient alerts, and staff movements in both routine and emergency conditions.