From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Managing risk and measuring change
RTLS is a strategic investment, one that requires the buy-in and coordination of multiple departments. Not only should healthcare leaders have access to training and support to take full advantage of RTLS benefits, the system must be carefully designed, installed, and evaluated to drive meaningful change.
RTLS adoption should begin with an assessment period that uses lean methodologies for process analysis and improvement and defines exactly how location data will be used to augment or enhance workflows. This period will lay the foundation for developing an effective implementation strategy (including the selection of location technologies, such as infrared, BLE, or WiFi) and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the strategic initiatives of the organization.
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In addition to measuring the realized impact of an RTLS implementation, KPIs provide a sense of transparency and objectivity, while regular, on-going review periods will help reinforce accountability and drive a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization. Experienced partners can help project leaders execute this sort of approach to ensure the greatest possible return on investment.
Looking ahead: The future of RTLS
The healthcare industry’s use of RTLS technology is expanding quickly, and yet, we are just scratching the surface of what RTLS can do. Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance analytics capabilities and expand the impact of RTLS healthcare solutions in the coming years. Soon we will be able to combine RTLS solutions with predictive analytics algorithms to provide real-time, automated recommendations.
Real-time location systems provide healthcare leaders with the sort of data and analytics necessary to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes and employee satisfaction. Investing in a flexible and comprehensive solution provider that offers multiple technologies, a robust integration engine, and a team to help guide and optimize an RTLS implementation means being able to build a successful system today – and being ready to take advantage of new applications as they emerge.
About the author: Christopher Thompson, MSN, RN, is the director of clinical transformation at CenTrak, the market leader in locating, sensing, and security solutions for the healthcare industry and a visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for indoor location services. CenTrak has helped more than 2,000 healthcare organizations around the world build a safer, more efficient enterprise.
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