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About IH Today

July 2014 -Intelligent Hospital Today is now featuring articles, videos and columns highlighting issues and topics relevant to the complex world of healthcare today. See our new featured article -Healthcare Symposium Finds Three Recurring Themes. Excerpts from Intelligent Hospital Today’s newest articles are below. Read on and follow the newest developments in healthcare RFID, RTLS, barcoding and sensors and wireless technologies.

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Some of our newest and  featured articles below:

 

Intelligent Pharmacy Pavilion Debuts at the 2014 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition

Innovative Exhibit during World’s Largest Meeting of Pharmacists to Demonstrate Patient Safety Technologies

NEW YORK, July 7, 2014 – The Intelligent Healthcare Association (IHA), in a partnership with ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists), is excited to introduce the first-ever Intelligent Pharmacy Pavilion (IPP) at ASHP’s 2014 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in Anaheim, CA, December 7-11.

This 7,200-square-foot pavilion will feature demonstration rooms that will showcase the latest technologies being utilized in today’s hospitals and ambulatory care pharmacies. The IPP will allow healthcare professionals to observe the integration of medication management technology and patient care delivery. Follow this link to read the full press release.

IHTV Releases Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion Step Down Room and ED Videos

ED Film icon smallNEW YORK, July 7, 2014 - Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV) just released the Step Down Room and Emergency Department videos from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February.

The Step-Down / Med Surg area of the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion represents a moderate acuity environment responsible for managing a broad spectrum of patients. Patients are typically increasingly mobile and the clinical staff is more dependent on the delivery of critical information directly to the point of care.

The Emergency Department of the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion represents a high pace environment focused on diagnostics, triage, rapid assessment and transport of the patient to appropriate treatment area of the hospital. The ED requires quick response, optimized patient processing and broad spectrum of clinical information to readily available and documented.

It is the goal of the Intelligent Health Association to raise the level of awareness of the available technologies and provide educational programs around research, standards, regulatory issues, operational flow and optimization. Follow this link to view both videos.

IHTV Releases Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion LDPR Video

L and D Film icon smallNEW YORK, June 16, 2014 - Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV) just released the LDPR video from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February. Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Post-Partum (LDRP) Rooms are designed to provide a comfortable, home-like atmosphere that facilitates patient safety, operational efficiencies, and an overall favorable patient experience. In support of baby friendly hospital initiatives, the LDRP room provides a private environment that promotes the initial bonding between mother and child, allows for caregivers to deliver personalized education, and support for breast feeding and infant care.

Maternal – fetal monitoring during labor and delivery helps care providers implement best practices and improve patient outcomes. These rooms are designed to accommodate state-of-the-art fetal monitoring technology, medical equipment, and supplies that are ready for use when needed throughout the patient’s entire stay. Perinatal data systems capture data from the fetal monitor and import the strips into the system for electronic surveillance and remote monitoring. The patients’ electronic medical record is able to be captured through the documentation modules designed around the clinical workflow specific to labor and delivery. All associated data is integrated to the Healthcare Information System (HIS) providing a complete electronic medical record. Special tools enable care providers the ability to get fast, accurate assistance in the assessment of FHR baseline, variability, accelerations and decelerations, and to apply NICHD definitions with confidence and clarity. Through the use of remote technology (smart phones and/or internet) physicians are able to monitor their patients and utilize the special tools. The perinatal system provides patients with confidence that they are being monitored at all times, even when the care provider is not in the room. Watch the video here

IHTV Releases Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion Cardiology Suite Video

cardio icon smallNEW YORK, June 13, 2014 - Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV) just released the Cardiology Suite video from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February. In this simulation the Cardiology Suite functions as the command center for the Cardiac Catherization and Electrophysiology at the Intelligent Hospital , as well being the Cardiology data center. Within the data center cardiologist can access a variety of patient centric information including; historical ECG, Holter data, stress /echo, and catherization images. Watch the videos here

IHTV Releases Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion Operating Room Suite Video

OR Film icon NEW YORK, June 2, 2014 - Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV) just released the Operating Room Suite video from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February. Learn about some of the exciting technologies featured in the Operating Room Suite and how they could promote patient safety and operational efficiency within your healthcare institution. Watch the videos here

IHTV Releases Supply Chain Video

Supply Chain Film icon smallNEW YORK, May 14, 2014 - Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV) just released the Supply Chain Suite video from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February. Learn about some of the exciting technologies featured in the Supply Chain Suite. IntelligentHospital.TV (IHTV) is a multi-media, web portal, dedicated to serving the educational needs of Life Sciences professionals from around the world. Watch the videos here!

Healthcare Symposium Finds Three Recurring Themes

By Emily Sopensky

emily posterRecently, a day-long symposium, “Join the Evolution to the Revolution – Transforming and Innovating Healthcare Through New Technologies”, co-produced by the Intelligent Health Association and IEEE, was held just prior to the annual Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference and exhibit Read about the highlights and takeaways in this review of the Symposium.

Themed “Transforming and Innovating Health Through the Adoption of New Technologies”, the symposium featured physicians and academics whose interests and disciplines include working with and introducing new technologies in their organization or healthcare facility.

Held in the Orlando Hilton, across the catwalk from the massive Orange Coast Convention Center, the meeting featured some of brightest and engaging accelerators of wireless technology in healthcare facilities, especially hospitals. This is the fourth year for the symposium, which is scheduled one day prior to the commencement of HIMSS14, of the Health Information Management Systems Society. Roughly 40,000 attend this annual conference and exhibit. Read the full story here.

IHTV Releases Three More Videos

Film icon_smallNEW YORK, April 29, 2014 -  Intelligenthospital.tv (IHTV)  just released three more videos from the Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion and Intelligent Medical Home™ shot at HIMSS14 in Orlando this past February. Learn about some of the exciting technologies featured in the ICU. See sponsors discuss the benefits to participating in the pavilion and watch a short overview of the Intelligent Medical Home™. IntelligentHospital.TV (IHTV) is a multi-media, web portal, dedicated to serving the educational needs of Life Sciences professionals from around the world. Watch the videos here!

Intelligent Medical Home™  HIMSS14 Video Released

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NEW YORK, April 8, 2014 -Medication management within a busy hospital is complex and as every healthcare administrator knows, complex systems can contribute to human errors.  Medication misadventures happen at any number of critical steps in the delivery of care.  In the Intelligent Hospital Pharmacy at HIMSS 2014, examples of some of the challenges hospital pharmacies and retail pharmacies face today were demonstrated.  Many of the emerging technologies  are geared to increase patient safety and operational efficiencies and focus on improving the pharmaceutical supply chain from ordering all the way to the bedside.

Read more and see the video here!

Intelligent Medical Home™  HIMSS14 Video Released

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NEW YORK, March 25, 2014 – With our healthcare system undergoing  major changes and transformation, the Intelligent Health Association and the RFID in Healthcare Consortium  showcased the latest in technologies and solutions that make our homes safer and a primary location to deliver care and patient education. The remote care devices and “smart” home technologies you will see in the Intelligent Medical Home™ exhibit video (HIMSS14, Orlando) will be a sampling of the explosion of innovation that is happening in the healthcare “ecosystem”.

Read more and see the video here!

The RFID in Healthcare Consortium Announces Intelligent Hospital Award Recipients

Industry Awards Recognize Leaders in Advanced Healthcare Technology Solutions

NEW YORK, February 12, 2014 - The RFID in Healthcare Consortium (RHCC) and Intelligent Hospital.org announced today the following six awards for 2014 and their recipients:

  • Improving Regulatory Compliance was awarded to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Conrad Emmerich, associate vice president for resource management and enterprise visibility; Beverly Essick, D.O.M. and director of clinical compliance and regulatory services; and Mary Jagim, associate director, Office of Enterprise Visibility, will receive the award.
  • The award for Improving the Patient Experience: Care and Safety was awarded to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Receiving the award are Bobbie Carroll, senior director of patient safety and clinical informatics, and Sarah Giga, MS, manager, clinical systems integration.
  • For his team, Dr. Joseph P. Drozda, Jr., director of outcomes research, Mercy, based in Chesterfield, Missouri,will receive the award for the Most Innovative Use Case.
  • Most Innovative Use of Business Intelligence was awarded to Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Delaware. Receiving the award are Leslie Mulshenock, director, Christians Care’s Heart and Vascular Interventional Services; and Matthew P. Esham, the manager for the Heart and Vascular Information Technology Department.
  • Carleen Penoza, director of infomatics, will receive the Most Innovative Use for Physical Security award for Beaumont Health System of Royal Oak, Michigan.
  • Conrad Emmerich will receive the Best Comprehensive Integration award for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Read the full press release here.

Judges for 2014 Intelligent Hospital Awards Announced

NEW YORK, November 20, 2013 — Intelligent Hospital, a subisdiary of the RFID in Healthcare Consortium, announces the judges for its second annual Intelligent Hospital Awards. The awards recognize the companies and individuals that have made significant contributions to patient care and healthcare facility management. The distinguished judges are: Gisele Bennet, Georgia Institute of Technology professor; Alfonso Gutierrez, University of Wisconsin distinguished researcher; Donna Hudson, University of California-San Francisco professor; Daniel W. Engels, Southern Methodist University associate professor; and John W. Walz, consultant and retired Lucent Technologies manager.  Read the full press release here.

 

Creating a Patient Portal Using Cloud-Based Systems

By David Linthicum What role does the cloud play in enabling secure patient portals?

The ideal patient portal places very complex data into an understandable context which provides the patient with a complete view of their health.  This includes recent diagnostics, treatments, medications, and, most importantly, the monitoring of current health data so they can work more productivity with their doctors.  While the features and functions may vary, patient portals track blood pressure, exercise activity, and calorie intake, transmitting the information directly to the patient’s physician, or to a database the patient can monitor.

So, how does public cloud computing and patient portal development come into play?  Cloud-based patient portals provide some key advantages, in terms of development, deployment, and operations, including self- and auto-provisioning of resources, which allow the portal to scale to thousands of simultaneous users, as needed, as well as scale back when the resources are no longer required.

Patient portals can also reduce or eliminate hardware, software, and data center costs, as well as leverage the ubiquitous nature of cloud computing to easily support any number of interfaces, including most mobile platforms, and programmatic access using open APIs (e.g., REST-based Web services).

Data analytics is also… Continue reading →

Building Intelligent Healthcare: Prove—and share—the Substantial ROI in RTLS

A Monthly Series By Marcus Ruark Intelligent InSites

Each month in Intelligent Hospital Today, “Building Intelligent Healthcare” will offer a best practice, tip, or suggestion for enabling your hospital, clinic, or healthcare system to take advantage of today’s latest technologies and solutions for improving clinical care, operational efficiency, and the satisfaction of staff, patients, and their families.

Prove—and share—the Substantial ROI in RTLS

In almost every conversation around real-time location systems (RTLS) the question arises:  “Is there an ROI in RTLS?” I’ve seen the proof of meaningful and measurable ROI with our healthcare system customers—but why don’t we hear more about it in the industry as a whole?  There is a frustrating shortage of published, documented ROI and I believe there are two main reasons for this lack of information.

First, there is a common failure to document an organization’s current state prior to deploying an RTLS solution.  Without knowing your operational performance prior to implementing operational intelligence and RTLS/RFID solutions, it’s impossible to make empirical claims about your improved performance following deployment.  To report the true and measurable benefits of operational intelligence across your enterprise, it’s imperative that you allocate the time and resources to collect pre-“Go Live” data,… Continue reading →

Top Fire Code Violations in Hospitals and How to Stay in Compliance

By Brendan McSheffrey, enGauge inc.

In facilities as large and complex as hospitals, there are many potential fire safety issues as well as numerous hidden code violations.Recently, we read a report by the State Fire Marshal of Washington State that outlined the most common violations that have been found in hospitals.  Many of these infractions could possibly start a fire or prevent people from safely escaping in an emergency situation.  We wrote up a brief rundown highlighting some of the more serious instances that occur regularly in healthcare establishments in the US.  Amongst other violations, there were minor problems ranging from burned out light bulbs in exit signs to missing ceiling tiles.  One of the biggest challenges that hospital administrators are faced with is staying up to date with code regulations; we at enGauge take those headaches away.  We’ve taken the time to boil down some of the most cited issues that peaked our interest.

Extension Cords

The number one most common problem that was cited in the report revolved around extension cords.  Not having enough outlets to power all of our devices is something we’ve all encountered, and it is not uncommon to daisychain or piggyback powerstrips and extension… Continue reading →

Four Steps to Developing a Successful Smartphone Strategy

Executive Summary A new generation of feature-rich, easy-to-use smartphones is keeping people organized and connected on the go, and healthcare practitioners are among those leading the way. Smartphones have been adopted more rapidly in hospitals than almost any other technology. No longer are CTOs and CIOs alone in pushing for smartphone integration; clinicians are now requesting the device in an effort to increase productivity and improve patient care. Physicians and nurses alike are tired of wasting valuable time searching for staff, patient data, and equipment when smartphones have the ability to deliver “anywhere” access to people and information in seconds. According to a new study released in May 2012 by healthcare market advisory firm Manhattan Research, physicians’ device and digital media adoption is evolving much faster than anticipated1. The smartphone revolution is well underway – is your hospital prepared? You can be. Read on.

Step 1: Define an Overall Vision for Technology Innovation As smartphones’ popularity burgeons, hospitals are developing mobility strategies to ensure the right tools are properly implemented to streamline workflows and increase efficiency. The first step of this process is defining an overall vision for technology innovation. A well-articulated vision statement focuses on improving patient care and… Continue reading →

Improving Disaster Response at Healthcare Facilities: Better Tracking of Critical Assets Leads to Safer Outcomes

By John McSheffrey

Catastrophic Events and U.S. Hospitals

Increasing incidents of large-scale catastrophic events such as the Boston Marathon bombing, the tornadoes in Missouri and Oklahoma, Hurricane Sandy and the 2009 H1 N1 influenza pandemic have highlighted the need for improved disaster planning by healthcare facilities.

With threats ranging from natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, to man-made disasters such as terrorist bombings and wildfires, and to internal disasters including hazardous material spills and fires, healthcare facilities have heightened attention on being at the ready should they need to deal with a such a tragic event.(1)

Let’s look at history. From 1971 to 1999 there were 275 instances of U.S. hospital evacuations reported with an average of 21 per year in the final decade.  The most evacuations in one year—as a result of the Northridge earthquake in California—was 33 in 1994.(2)  All were exceeded by the evacuations that took place during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

‎According to figures assembled by the Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA) during Katrina, 1,749 patients occupied the 11 hospitals surrounded by floodwaters and that needed to be evacuated. The LHA’s compilation also showed that these 11 hospitals housed more than 7,600… Continue reading →

Benefits and Technology in the Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum Room (LDRP)

By Heather Ruchalski, Clinical Computer Systems, Inc.

As our healthcare system evolves, and the focus is centered on the triple aim (improving patient care and satisfaction, improving the health of the population served, and reducing health care costs), more hospitals are increasing the number of labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum (LDRP) rooms for continuity of care and to provide increased patient satisfaction.  These rooms are designed to provide a comfortable, home-like atmosphere large enough to accommodate the medical and technological needs for patient care during baby’s delivery compared to the traditional Labor and Delivery room.

Everything in One Place LDRP rooms use state-of-the-art technology including electronic fetal monitoring systems, fetal monitors, and physiological monitors to equip the nursing staff with information to oversee and administer care with minimal disruption to patients and family members. With digital technology, live telemedicine capabilities, or remote technology may be used to advise providers while off-site.  The rooms are furnished with birthing beds that easily transition for delivery and quickly revert back to a traditional bed for the recovery and postpartum periods, thus eliminating the need for patient room transfers. Infant stations, infant warmers, delivery carts, and breast pumps can be stored within the room… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

The following is an interview between Jay Deady and Fred Hernandez, BSN, RN, ED Clinical Systems Coordinator for Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, an approximately $1 billion nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats more than 30,000 inpatients and 350,000 outpatients, and logs 80,000 Emergency Department visits annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals, seven health centers, and five urgent care centers.

DEADY: What prompted Hoag to start your RTLS journey with ED patient flow rather than the more common asset management entry point?

HERNANDEZ: Back in 2005, the Emergency Department was growing pretty quickly and our patient tracking grease board kept moving further away from patient rooms and Physician work areas. We experienced difficulty locating patients across a large ED and lacked visibility to patient acuity when we were making patient placement decisions (i.e. when assigning a bed to a new patient, we couldn’t understand the overall workload in a particular pod without walking around and talking to the care team, which takes a lot of time.) There was also a lot of confusion about bed availability, bed status (e.g. clean or dirty) and pending discharges. We were looking for a solution that provided visibility… Continue reading →

Crawl, Walk, Run: Three Steps to Improving Clinical Efficiency and Effectiveness

Executive Summary Hospital administrators recognize the importance of internal communication. They realize that clinicians must be able to connect easily with each other, their patients, laboratory and radiology staff, and other providers. They understand the physical space that separates units and the seconds that can separate life from death. To solve the problem, many hospitals equip clinicians with communication tools, including legacy wireless phones, pagers, PDAs and voice badges. A virtual “tool belt.” They want clinicians to be prepared.

But if you ask a nurse about that tool belt, there are too many tools to juggle, too many beeps and buzzes. And certainly too distracting as they strive to focus on patient care. They are at risk of alarm fatigue and can be easily overwhelmed by too many unnecessary interruptions. Their communication tool belt, ironically, weakens communication.

It stalls workflow. It invites medical errors. And most disturbingly, it impairs clinical efficiency and effectiveness.

But there is a solution.

Step #1: Invest in One Integrated Communication Tool Increasingly, medical centers are replacing those oversized tool belts with smartphones (such as the Apple iPhone): palm-sized devices uniquely programmed for each hospital’s needs. The smartphone integrates voice, alarm, and text messaging and allows… Continue reading →

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Finds RTLS Provides Many Benefits

Since the hospital began operating in September, it has been using CenTrak real-time location system technology and Intelligent InSites software to find assets, prevent the spread of infections and locate patients for their families. By Claire Swedberg

Approximately six months ago, when the newly constructed Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance (Texas Health Alliance), in Fort Worth, Texas, opened its doors for the first time, it already had a real-time location system (RTLS) up and running. Its goal was to improve efficiency, regulatory compliance, and patient satisfaction and care.

The RTLS solution employs CenTrak‘s Gen2IR tags and readers to identify the locations of assets, patients and personnel, as well as Intelligent InSites software for managing the collected location data. To date, the RTLS has ensured that no asset has ended up missing. What’s more, says Winjie Tang Miao, Texas Health Alliance’s president, patient satisfaction is high—due, in part, to the RTLS solution freeing up employees’ time.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas (Texas Health Dallas)—one of Texas Health Alliance’s sister hospitals—had already been using Intelligent InSites’ software and CenTrak’s RTLS hardware, Miao says. As such, Texas Health Alliance’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, opted to install a similar RTLS solution… Continue reading →

SysLogic Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance for First-Ever RFID-Enabled Blood Tracking Device

Brookfield, WI – SysLogic, Inc. announced today that the first ever Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-enabled blood products tracking system has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) market clearance. The product – iTrace™ for Blood Centers – will automatically identify,  reconcile and track blood products. The announcement was made today by the FDA, along with the Transfusion Medicine RFID Consortium.

iTrace for Blood Centers is the first FDA-cleared RFID-enabled tracking and process automation system designed specifically to improve quality and efficiency in the transfusion medicine supply chain.

“We are thrilled to have achieved FDA clearance for the first RFID-enabled medical device in the transfusion medicine industry,” said Tina Chang, CEO of SysLogic. “As an information systems services company, we always seek out challenging engagements that allow us to truly partner with our clients on innovative and important work. iTrace for Blood Centers is the perfect example of such an initiative; we collaborated with blood industry experts and RFID experts from Wisconsin and beyond, to create a product that can truly enhance the safety of our nation’s blood supply.”

The blood product supply chain is a critical pillar of our nation’s public health infrastructure. The Institute of Medicine and other… Continue reading →

Can Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi Devices Coexist?

By Jeff Paynter

Bluetooth technology was originally developed by Ericsson in 1994.  Later on, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established the 802.15.1 Bluetooth standard.  Since 1998 the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) defines the radio characteristics, ensures interoperability while developing and maintaining the Bluetooth open standard.  Today the Bluetooth SIG is made up of 18,000 companies which promote the standard worldwide.  In April 2013, the Bluetooth SIG debuted its initial Bluetooth World conference in Shanghai, China.

Both Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi operate in the Industrial, Scientific, Medical (ISM) unlicensed radio frequency (RF) spectrum from 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) to 2.4835 gigahertz (GHz).  Early Bluetooth devices interfered with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi devices because both devices tried to use the same channel for an extended period of time which caused interference, lost data, and eventually a loss of service for both devices.

The Coexistence of Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi

It is impractical to keep the Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi devices from hearing each other.  But by using Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) both the Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi devices can coexist by taking turns transmitting over time.

In order to minimize the interference, the Bluetooth SIG implemented a signaling mechanism called Frequency… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

What’s coming in the next generation of RTLS?

Deady: The next generation of RTLS, which I think of as the third generation, is a breakthrough that is beginning to significantly extend the value of this technology for clinicians and healthcare organizations. Third generation RTLS systems take advantage of predictive analytics and advanced business rules engines to recognize and interpret events in a healthcare environment, determine what should happen next, and then alert caregivers to act to keep care progressing – all behind the scenes, without human intervention.

If that sounds like science fiction, take a look at previous iterations of RTLS, because that’s where you can begin to see the path to the third generation. Starting in the 1990s, first generation RTLS began to be deployed in a small number of US hospitals. The basic technology could track moveable medical equipment and other assets using RFID tags but only at the zone level, about 15 to 30 feet. The lack of proximity capability, compounded by technical problems like tags with short battery life, meant that it was often easier for staff to locate assets the old-fashioned way, by walking the floor. As a result, first generation RTLS drove few workflow… Continue reading →

Automating inventory management—an innovative approach to improving operating room supply chain performance: the CHUM case

An increasing number of hospitals are turning to new approaches to improve supply chain processes and enhance performance. One such hospital is the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), which, in implementing a number of innovative practices to more efficiently manage sterile medical supplies, has improved case preparation activities in its operating room (OR) department.

An unsustainable situation

Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, the CHUM is a world-class healthcare institution. Its mission is five-fold: clinical services, teaching, research, the evaluation of healthcare technologies and intervention methods, and health promotion. In addition to its 900 physicians, the three-site, 1,000-bed institution employs 10,000 people. Some 30,000 surgical procedures are performed at the CHUM each year.

Given the volume of activity, all three OR departments must be managed very efficiently to maintain the pace of work at the CHUM. The existing manual, non-standard processes had begun to show their cracks: some sterile medical supplies ran short while a surplus of others occurred. The OR’s medical administrative management team turned to the materials management and sterile processing departments to help rectify the situation.

The three departments resolved to collaborate on a project to establish an effective system to manage OR supplies.… Continue reading →

Interview with Glenn Aspenns – The Five Rights

Glenn Aspenns, Senior Media Applications Analyst/Product Manager, Intermec

Can you define the five rights? The five rights are a common concept in the healthcare point-of-care environment.  In essence, they provide a framework to verify that the patient has received the correct treatment.  The staff is responsible for verifying that they are administering medication to the right patient with the right medicine, the right dose, through the right route, and at the right time.  If any of these are not correct, there can be significant negative consequences.  Hospitals have a strong focus on positive patient outcomes, and this is a fundamental check for optimum care.

Is a manual check by the point of care staff the only route to verify these five rights? It is generally the first step, and was historically the only method of verification.  However, barcode medicine administration (often just referred to as BCMA) has proven to be a powerful addition to manual verification.  In the high touch, fast-paced patient care environment, methods to prevent human error are of critical importance; BCMA offers just that.  With a well-designed system, the staff is enabled to do what they do best with observation and assessment of patient condition, bedside manner,… Continue reading →

RTLS Systems and Life Safety Monitoring

By Brendan McSheffery

RTLS and Life Safety Monitoring:  Reducing Risk, Lowering Costs, Improving Patient Care

As Real time location systems become more widely deployed and used to track vital equipment, especially in healthcare facilities, manufacturing plants and the hospitality industry, businesses are starting to look to integrate critical life safety equipment in their RTLS deployments. Devices such as employee distress medallions, medical oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators), IV pumps and many others are being integrated into RTLS infrastructure providing businesses with tremendous ROI through improved process and reduced inventory, as well as substantially lowered risk and improved life safety.

RTLS systems are wireless networks deployed inside of facilities, that in conjunction with RFID tags and a software layer, provide businesses with insight into exactly where on their campus each piece of tracked equipment resides at any point in time. In addition, sensors play an important role in life safety monitoring as well.

Fire Extinguishers and RTLS

Does the fire extinguisher in the northern hallway, on the 4th floor of the Green building have pressure? Has it been removed, or are there obstructions in front of it that may make it difficult or impossible to access? These sensors provide information into… Continue reading →

RFID and the Intelligent Hospital

By Joe Pleshek

There has been a lot of talk recently about the use of RFID in healthcare for everything from asset tracking to patient monitoring and hand hygiene.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that RFID can provide an end-to-end solution for healthcare providers, improving patient care and hospital operations from the minute a patient arrives at a facility until the moment they leave.

I recently had the chance to conduct some research about the Intelligent Hospital, which is part of the RFID in Healthcare Consortium. The Intelligent Hospital is designed to help raise awareness and to educate the healthcare industry about the many applications that RFID and RTLS can be used for when integrated within clinical scenarios.

The Intelligent Hospital Pavilion has grown to become one of the most popular exhibits at the annual HIMSS conference, held earlier this month in New Orleans. The conference focuses on technology solutions that benefit healthcare providers.

In many cases, RFID technology is put to work from the minute a patient arrives at a healthcare facility, if not before that. Some patients who are transported to a facility by ambulance are already wearing an RFID-enabled bracelet containing important medical data when they… Continue reading →

Inside the Intelligent Hospital – Past Vision, Future Reality

By Gene Fedors

Standing at the entrance to the Intelligent Hospital ® Pavilion at the HIMSS13 Conference – waiting for the ribbon ceremony to conclude and let the crowd of eagerly waiting attendees into the exhibit – I couldn’t help but think back to 2007 when several of us from the RFID Technical Institute and the International RFID Business Association began designing the education model for the healthcare environment of the future.  The challenge was to envision the overall hospital care process from end-to-end and begin mapping new enabling technologies to the various clinical work methods. We had an arsenal of new auto-identification tools – RFID, RTLS, sensors, etc. – that begged to be incorporated into this challenging, complex setting.  Each operational area of the hospital was reviewed for its strengths and weaknesses and then revised by applying a suitable tool that produced benefit – performance improvement and/or risk mitigation. The envisioned hospital work methods model became the basis of the design for educational courseware that prototyped the intelligent hospital experience and provided a framework concept for the development of the pavilion.

As the opening ceremony commenced there was a sense in the audience that something special was about to… Continue reading →

Building Intelligent Healthcare

A Monthly Series by Marcus Ruark,

Each month in Intelligent Hospital Today, “Building Intelligent Healthcare” will offer a best practice, tip, or suggestion for enabling your hospital, clinic, or healthcare system to take advantage of today’s latest technologies and solutions for improving clinical care, operational efficiency, and the satisfaction of staff, patients, and their families.

Visit the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS Next Year Each year, the RFID in Health Care Consortium (RHCC) and intelligenthospital.org host the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference.  At HIMSS13 in New Orleans earlier this year, HIMSS President Stephen Lieber stated that “The Intelligent Hospital Pavilion is the most heavily visited event at the HIMSS Conference.”

As one of the founding members of the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion (back, in fact, when it was called the RTLS/RFID Showcase) and its original volunteer “program manager,” I can say—unequivocally—that the #1 goal of the Intelligent Hospital is to educate healthcare providers and industry participants on innovative, real-world technologies that can improve care, deliver real return-on-investment, and increase patient and staff satisfaction.

The Intelligent Hospital Pavilion’s educational mission is supported by live presentations, case studies (presented each year in a… Continue reading →

What are your vital signs?

vs-2By Jeff Paynter Co-Chairman Wireless Technologies in Healthcare Committee RFID in Healthcare Consortium

When you go to see a doctor one of the first things the clinician does is manually record some of your vital signs.  Well maybe it is not the first thing they ask for but it is a close second.  Clinicians use your vital signs to help them diagnose what is wrong with your health.

Some common vital signs are non-invasive blood pressure, electrocardiogram, glucose, heart rate, pulse oximetry (SpO2), temperature (oral, rectal, tympanic), and weight.  Clinicians use these vital signs to reduce recovery time, minimizes complications, which ultimately improves a patient’s overall healthcare condition in response to their changing treatments.

Vital sign device manufacturers use technology to connect their devices to a proprietary standalone vendor specific wired data network with software applications to allow for centralized patient vital sign monitoring.  With the use of Ethernet standards based data network technologies, they make devices that can be used on existing Ethernet wired data networks to also allow for central monitoring.  Either way clinicians manually write down a patient’s vital sign information on a paper form to be added to a patient’s paper health file.

Today because of… Continue reading →

Intelligent Hospital Awards: Pioneers Recognized

By Emily Sopensky

Not to be outdone by a robot-assisted ribbon-cutting March 4 to open the 2013 Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS13, the RHCC Intelligent Hospital Awards Ceremony that evening was a huge attraction. And for good reason. This very important event gave recognition to just a few of those who have quietly pioneered the seamless integration of technologies to improve the patient experience and to help contain costs.

These first-ever awards were established by the RFID in Healthcare Consortium in 2013. The five awards are: Improving Regulatory Compliance, Improving the Patient Experience: Care and Safety, Most Innovative Use Case, Most Comprehensive Integration, and the Grand Award.

Stephen Lieber, President & CEO of HIMSS, presented the RHCC Intelligent Hospital Grand Award 2013 to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 11. The VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. The judges applauded the VA VISN 11 for testing solutions on a smaller scale before deploying en masse. The work at Ann Arbor VAMC, Sterile Processing Services, is just one example of the pioneering efforts that the US Department of Veterans Affairs has implemented that impact the entire VA health… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

What is the role of RTLS versus the EMR in facilitating patient flow?

Deady: That’s a great question and one that I hear often! Healthcare organizations are investing a lot of money and resources to implement their EMR, with the expectation that it is the final step in their automation journey. However, as I mentioned in the February installment, organizations are finding that while EMRs help automate some aspects of care, a number of manual tasks remain after activation. RTLS has a synergistic effect on the EMR by automating additional workflow tasks and providing a critical link between caregiver movement and care delivery. The EMR only captures care delivery once it has been documented – after the fact – but RTLS enables automatic documentation of many patient care steps, in real time, because it tracks the location/co-location and interactions of patients, caregivers and equipment and the context of the care being delivered.

So how does RTLS change a clinician’s workflow in the facilitation of patient flow?

Deady: First I would say that not all RTLS solutions are created equal. If an RTLS system incorporates an advanced business rules engine and sophisticated analytics, the system can automatically draw conclusions… Continue reading →

RFID, RTLS and NFC in Healthcare

Stephane Pique, VP EMEA, RFID in Healthcare Consortium (www.rfidinhealthcare.org)

Every day, healthcare services become more and more complex. This complexity increases the potential of mistakes; one mistake in a procedure may lead to very serious problems and consequences. The correct use of technologies such as RFID, RTLS and NFC can help to better control life-critical processes, people and devices. RFID can be used to establish the dynamic relationships between patients, care providers and the devices connected to the patient. The connection enables the rapid filtering, processing and delivery of critical information directly to the point-of-care through a variety of hand-held devices while concurrently delivering information to clinical data repositories such as the patient medical record. This delivery methodology optimizes and enhances processes, patient care and safety, enabling dynamic and remote monitoring and rapid response to critical issues. When properly implemented, RFID and RTLS can have a tremendous impact on patient safety and quality of care, while at the same time reducing operating expenses.

Such solutions enable hospitals to account for equipment, patients, personnel and processes throughout the enterprise, as well as understand resource status, processes, usage and availability. This real-time information impacts all aspects of the healthcare enterprise including processes,… Continue reading →

Building Intelligent Healthcare

A Monthly Series, By Marcus Ruark Intelligent InSites

Each month in Intelligent Hospital Today, “Building Intelligent Healthcare” will offer a best practice, tip, or suggestion for enabling your hospital, clinic, or healthcare system to take advantage of today’s latest technologies and solutions for improving clinical care, operational efficiency, and the satisfaction of staff, patients, and their families.

Enlist and maintain continuous executive support and participation

I apologize for starting with such an obvious key to success, but if you know me, you know I don’t have a problem with stating the obvious.  Don’t worry—I will have some subtle keys to success in future months, but why not start this monthly series right from the top?

We are talking about building intelligent healthcare here.  “Intelligent Healthcare” because it’s not only about intelligent hospitals, but also about intelligent healthcare systems, and an intelligent healthcare environment.  And with a “big picture” vision like that, executive support and participation is going to be mandatory.

And, it’s not just our vision that’s, well, visionary:  the technology solutions that you read about in Intelligent Hospital Today, and that you will see, in action, at the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS13, are far-reaching, expansive, transformational solutions that… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

How does RTLS facilitate patient flow?

Deady: RTLS has the power to improve patient flow in a variety of ways ranging from simple automation, such as documenting activities and time stamps based on caregiver, patient and equipment location, to complex milestone management that relates the interactions between caregivers, patients and equipment, to care ordered in the electronic medical record (EMR). The ability to interpret activities and anticipate roadblocks in the patient’s care plan supports proactive communication to drive action. For example, there are multiple steps to prepare a patient for surgery and eliminating wasted time between steps greatly enhances patient flow.

Organizations are finding that while EMRs help automate some aspects of care, a number of manual tasks remain after activation. RTLS has a synergistic effect on the EMR by automating additional workflow tasks, and providing a critical link between caregiver movement and care delivery. The EMR only captures care delivery once it has been documented — after the fact, but RTLS enables automatic documentation of many patient care steps, in real time, because it tracks the location/co-location and interactions of patients, caregivers and equipment, and the context of the care being delivered.

RTLS-based workflow automation reduces delays in… Continue reading →

RTLS and Lean Healthcare, Part 3: Reducing Waiting to Eliminate Waste

Joanna Wyganowska, Intelligent InSites Lean Healthcare Fanatic

In previous parts of our RTLS and Lean Healthcare article series, we discussed how reducing confusion and reducing motion in the healthcare environment can eliminate waste. Today, we will focus on the waste in healthcare due to waiting.

As you probably know from your own experience, waiting causes frustration–for patients, patients’ families, and also for care providers–which increases the rate of patients leaving without treatment (LWOT) and negatively impacts patient and staff satisfaction scores.

The underlying reasons for this type of waste are primarily bottlenecks in patient flow and breakdowns in communication. Therefore, two keys to reducing waiting are (1) early warning signs of potential capacity issues and (2) automated communications based on workflow milestones.

By using RTLS-enabled patient flow solutions, staff members can see, in real time, the status of multiple capacity indicators, including how many patients are waiting (and for how long) or what rooms are available. This enables the RTLS system to automatically trigger appropriate actions, such as sending notifications to medical staff to check on unseen patients or sending a work order to housekeeping immediately following patient discharge.

Having instant access to what is going on in the ED… Continue reading →

Everything new in healthcare technology will be at HIMSS

By Robert J. Szczerba, Ph.D. Director, Global Healthcare Initiatives, Lockheed Martin

As many of you already know, HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of healthcare information and management systems. The organization’s convention is eagerly anticipated and annually attended by more than 35,000 federal agency executives and commercial executive customers/stakeholders responsible for large health organizations. This year, it will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La., from March 4-6.

For the 2013 edition of HIMSS, the RFID in Healthcare Consortium and Lockheed Martin will unveil a unique healthcare theater in the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion. Through sight and sound, visitors will enter a completely re-imagined vision of the future of healthcare. Inside this octagon-shaped structure we will tell the story of how systems integration, simulation, and analytics can help create efficiencies, improve care and reduce costs in complex clinical environments.

In addition, at the separate Lockheed Martin booth, attendees will see a variety of technical demonstrations and presentations that illustrate our focus on creating innovative solutions which support accessible and affordable quality healthcare.

Specific demonstrations include: electronic health records systems, ICE STORM® (Integrated Clinical… Continue reading →

The RFID in Healthcare Consortium Announces Intelligent Hospital Award Recipients

First-ever Industry Awards Recognize Leaders in Advanced Healthcare Technology Solutions

NEW YORK, January 23, 2013 — The RFID in Healthcare Consortium (RHCC) and Intelligent Hospital.org announced today the following awards and their recipients:

  • Improving Regulatory Compliance was awarded to US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Integrated Service Network 11 (VISN 11) and Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System Sterile Processing Services (VAAAHS SPS). The recipients are VAAAHS SPS Chief, Robin McLeod and VISN 11 Biomedical Engineering Point of Contact, Michael McDonald (Indianapolis, IN).
  • Most Innovative Use Case was awarded to Group Health Cooperative (Seattle, WA). The award will be received by Donnell Coomes, Enterprise Project Management, Senior Project Director.
  • Improving the Patient Experience: Care and Safety was awarded to Florida Hospital Celebration Health (Celebration, FL). Ashley Simmons, Director, Performance Improvement Department, will receive the award for Florida Hospital.
  • Best Comprehensive Integration was awarded to Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, OR). The recipients are Dennis Minsent, Director, Clinical Technology Services; Angela Baltz, Clinical Engineer; and Chris Coffman, Senior Applications Engineer, IT Healthcare Professional Services Applications.
  • Two other outstanding nominations were recognized by the judges. The Finalists, Best Comprehensive Integration are Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, CA) and St. Joseph’s Hospital (Atlanta, GA).… Continue reading →

Paying Tribute, Part 2

By Emily Sopensky, RHCC co-founder; co-chair Intelligent Hospital Awards Committee

Last year, that is December 2012, I spoke with Bryant Broder (ACSP) senior product manager with Skytron www.skytron.us about why they are involved with the RHCC Intelligent Hospital Awards. His answer was complex – which is the nature of the industry of merged technologies, like RFID, RTLS and mobile devices.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Skytron has sales and distribution around the world with 26 manufacturing partners helping to produce turnkey managed solutions in RTLS and the medical surgical milieu for over 40years.

“Each hospital is different. We are not in a cookie cutter environment,” Broder states. “What works for one may not for another. That’s why we diversified our portfolio instead of just a single pane of glass.” “Of course if you need a single pane of glass we can do that too!”

Skytron’s pharmacy solution, KitCheck, will be a game changer because there is nothing like it and provide high level quality assurance. Restocking and validation of kits, checking every vial in a code blue cart – expiration dates and lab recalls—is highly labor intensive if done manually. Depending on the facility, there can be 120 different medications… Continue reading →

The RFID in Healthcare Consortium and The Intelligent Hospital ™ to Appear at HIMSS13

New Orleans welcomes the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, March 3-7, 2013, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. More than 36,000 healthcare industry professionals are expected to attend to discuss health information technology issues and review innovative solutions designed to transform healthcare.

The RFID in Healthcare Consortium and The Intelligent Hospital ™ is proud to support this annual event that helps HIT professionals make the right decisions for their organizations.

 Continue reading →

RTLS and Lean Healthcare, Part 2: Reducing Motion to Eliminate Waste

Joanna Wyganowska, Intelligent InSites Lean Healthcare Fanatic

In Part 1 of our RTLS and Lean Healthcare article series, we discussed how reducing confusion in the healthcare environment can eliminate waste. Today, we will take a closer look at the waste in hospitals due to motion.

According to Cindy Jimmerson, President and Founder of Lean Healthcare West, motion refers to the movement of people that does not add value. It can be described as the physical movement required to get a simple task accomplished and to move people and products from place to place.

Examples of movements in the hospital are plentiful: walking to another location to organize the environment to care for the patient, conveyance of patients from room to room, or simply trying to find another staff member.

But the truth is that until we start to observe and measure motion, we just go along with whatever flow we currently have set up, very often unaware of the inherent process inefficiencies.

Here are a few questions that you might ask your staff to identify waste-elimination opportunities:

  • Was everything you needed to care for a patient located in the same room, ward, building, or even within the same campus?
  •  Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

What should be considered when choosing an RTLS Solution?

Deady: As healthcare organizations prepare to reduce operating costs by 20-25% in order to survive and thrive amidst health reform’s reimbursement changes, they can no longer accept the inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and quality and safety problems that plague our industry. With this in mind, there are four major considerations when making a commitment to an RTLS solution:

1.    Technology. Organizations should seek the most appropriate solution for addressing both the economic and technical requirements associated with delivering RTLS applications for use in hospitals – dynamic, technologically and operationally challenging environments. The solution should be fast, consistently accurate, non-invasive, easy to install and maintain, and shouldn’t interfere with or overload mission-critical WiFi networks.

2.    Software platform. The ability to drive both enterprise- and departmental-level workflow is key to achieving long-term value. Look for a partner that offers a full suite of RTLS solutions to address a variety of goals, with an extensible platform that fosters the addition of new functionality over time. Low maintenance, cloud-based solutions will simplify upgrades and maintenance.

3.    Service and support model. A single point of accountability for support and maintenance of the RTLS technology eliminates… Continue reading →

Healthcare’s Growing Interest in Advanced Technologies

By Robert J. Szczerba, Ph.D., Director, Global Healthcare Initiatives, Lockheed Martin

Healthcare is a topic that commands considerable interest, not only in the U.S., but worldwide. Over the past several months I’ve been fortunate enough to attend events that exposed me to some of the latest trends that are playing an important role in the evolving healthcare ecosystem.

For the first time, my team participated in the MEDICA tradeshow in Dusseldorf, Germany. We shared the Lockheed Martin Healthcare vision by showcasing some of our healthcare capabilities and services, including DNA testing and our ICE STORM™ technology suite. There was particular international interest in ICE STORM™ capabilities—continuous process and workflow refinement and virtual clinical facility design to minimize and possibly eliminate costly retrofit costs. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to present an hour-long talk on “Re-engineering Healthcare: How Healthcare Can Learn from the Aerospace and Defense Industries”, which received very positive responses and multiple suggestions for collaboration.

The sheer size of this show and the countries represented were quite impressive. MEDICA is known as the world’s leading forum for in-patient and out-patient medicine, boasts approximately 4,500 exhibitors displaying their products and services with more than 140,000 attendees. Almost two dozen… Continue reading →

RFID and Sterile Process Using RFID

By Al Hardy

Since April 2012, I’ve looked at using RFID for creating Fiscal and Physical Visibility for surgical instruments.

Specifically: -Developing data quality in and through everyday practices -Empowering people to improve performance and make their processes better -Connecting the value of an asset to revenue generation -Giving leadership comprehensive, clear, and concise decision-making tools.

A recent workshop gave me the 1st opportunity to meet face-to-face with a vendor whose main business provides solutions for surgical instrument and sponge management, Haldor Advanced Technologies.

Why did I speak with Haldor?  They were present.  Haldor tags surgical instruments and sponges with RFID tags. More importantly, they were willing to speak with me about their solution under the specific perspective of the Fiscal and Physical Visibility model.

Surgical instruments require specific protocols to clean and sterilize.  Sterile processing departments perform these functions. In a typical hospital one may find thousands of these reusable instruments which require cleaning and sterilization between each patient.  Some instruments are specialized for specific types of cases and require cleaning per manufacturer’s instructions.  Furthermore, cleaning and sterilization requirements place extensive durability demands on the hardware.  RFID tags must survive detergents, water, heat, steam, mechanical vibrations and other physical… Continue reading →

Judges for Intelligent Hospital Awards Announced: PRESS RELEASE

Judges for the 2013 Intelligent Hospital Awards come from strong academic and technology industrial backgrounds

NEW YORK, December 27, 2012 — The RFID in Healthcare Consortium (RHCC) and Intelligent Hospital.org (IH) announced today that judges for the first annual Intelligent Hospital Awards have been chosen. They are as follows: University of California-San Francisco professor Donna Hudson, Georgia Tech Institute professor Gisele Bennet, University of Wisconsin distinguished researcher Alfonso Gutierrez, and journalist and editor-in-chief RFID 24-7 John Johnson.

Read more about the judges.

Highly regarded in their own fields of expertise of medical applications and technology, their years of experience ensure that the Intelligent Hospital Awards will be determined fairly. Judges will choose from entries submitted by January 7 in these award categories: •    Improving the Patient Experience: Care and Safety •    Improving Regulatory Compliance •    Best Comprehensive Integration •    Most Innovative Use Case

RHCC and its subsidiary IH support advanced technology initiatives for improved patient care and healthcare facility management. “We thought it was about time to recognize those whose pioneering efforts promote patient safety and cost containment through the use of technologies such as wireless, sensors, RFID, RTLS, and telecommunications,” says Harry P. Pappas, co-founder RHCC and IH. “Being… Continue reading →

“The Top 10 Intelligent Hospital Use Cases”

By: John Wass There are many ways to understand the “Intelligent Hospital”.  This article examines the “Intelligent Hospital” by looking at the top 10 use cases that make this new infrastructure so important for healthcare institutions.  As with many things, the whole Intelligent Hospital is more than the sum of its parts, but looking at the parts will help make clear its value. The common value in the use cases is in the speed of the response and the visibility to exceptions.  In a traditional model, hospital staff constantly sifts through large amounts of data to see the important information.  Intelligent hospital solutions capture data real-time, use software to sift through this data to find exceptions and then present this actionable information to the person who can make a difference.  This allows the hospital staff to spend more time with patients and keep their focus on areas that need their attention. While this article lists the most common solutions, many other areas are continually being identified where this approach will improve patient safety/satisfaction as well as help reduce costs. Listed below are 10 critical use cases.  They are not in any particular order because their value and importance can be… Continue reading →

Paying Tribute, Part 1

IH AWARDSBy Emily Sopensky, RHCC co-founder; co-chair Intelligent Hospital Awards Committee

Given the many issues and complexities of delivering excellent healthcare, it is remarkable how many systems do work. The value of healthcare would make it the fifth largest economy in the world. The costs associated with it are astronomical.

Technologies certainly offer ways of easing the administrators’ and clinicians’ woes. But each hospital, each community, each facility is different. With margins tight, and government lawmakers and regulators faced with the often diametrically opposed virtues of cost containment and ensuring quality care, it’s a wonder that the supporting infrastructures are not left in tethers. Instituting a new technology solution – regardless of the proffered efficiency metrics – takes courage. Splicing together a victorious use of technologies is not for the ill-tempered or risk averse. It is a daunting task to piece together the technologies that reduce inventory costs, synchronize assets with critical need, ease paperwork burdens on nursing staffs, or flag an error before it is made.

And yet, there are many individuals and organizations who take on the challenges solely to get the job done. It is these unsung heroes that a new awards program seeks to honor.

Established in… Continue reading →

 

RTLS and Lean Healthcare, Part 1: Reducing Confusion to Eliminate Waste

By: Joanna Wyganowska, Intelligent InSites Lean Healthcare Fanatic

Running a hospital in our current economic and political environment has never been harder. With limited access to capital, and the government mandating new care delivery models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) – only organizations that are ready to change the way they operate will be able to survive and succeed.

Eliminating the unnecessary, yet colossal, waste in healthcare operations should be the mantra for healthcare leaders in order to ensure better care at lower cost.

With that in mind, let’s analyze common sources of waste in the healthcare environment and how real-time location systems (RTLS) can assist with eliminating them.

Here are the 7 Sources of Waste in Healthcare (according to Cindy Jimmerson, President and Founder of Lean Healthcare West):

1. Confusion 2. Motion 3. Waiting 4. Processing 5. Inventory 6. Defects 7. Over-production

In this Part 1 of my “RTLS and Lean Healthcare” article series, I’ll start by addressing the first source of waste: Confusion.

According to Jimmerson, 65% of nurses’ time is spent on looking for things they can’t find, clarifying things that are unclear, and doing redundant paperwork.

Can RTLS help? When discussing… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

When should hospitals deploy RTLS?

Deady: At the most fundamental level, RTLS deployments optimize asset management and automate temperature monitoring, which can improve patient safety and efficiency almost immediately, and generate a substantial return on investment within just a few months.

The time is now! Less than 20% of hospitals today actively use the technology, yet RTLS deployments are usually unbudgeted – often justified by the rapid return on investment. Our clients typically achieve savings of $3-$7 dollars for every dollar invested, making RTLS an easy choice to help reduce expenses, equipment maintenance needs, and labor associated with manual temperature logging and searching for equipment. RTLS should be considered when a facility is looking to:

•    Make a capital purchase of mobile equipment within the next 12-24 months •    Start new construction or renovations •    Decrease rental equipment costs •    Improve preventative maintenance efficiency and compliance •    Improve equipment recall compliance •    Reduce equipment loss •    Improve regulatory compliance with temperature monitoring processes

The ability to accurately report on, analyze and understand equipment inventory, utilization rates, location data, and refrigeration unit temperatures typically yields results like the following: •    Significant reduction in one-time, planned capital purchases of replacement equipment •  … Continue reading →

MEDICA and COMPAMED 2012 Reflect Status of Medical Market

The recent staging of MEDICA 2012, International Trade Fair with Congress – World Forum for Medicine, and the concurrently held COMPAMED 2012, International Trade Fair – High tech solutions for medical technology, in Düsseldorf, Germany reflected the demand for medical technology and products with stable attendance figures: 130,600 visitors from 120 countries took part to get a comprehensive overview of the latest innovations in the medical sector.

A total of 93% of the visitors had decision-making authority. Since health care professionals in the middle management usually have especially strict travel restrictions, the percentage of international visitors is always indicative of the  high ratio of decision makers at MEDICA. This year, every second visitor came from countries other than Germany.

The 4,554 exhibitors from 64 nations at MEDICA 2012 praised the high quality and international flair of the MEDICA 2012 attendees which also included visitor groups from countries such as South America, North Africa and Asia.

On the exhibitor side, 74% of the MEDICA exhibitors were from nations other than Germany, including a record 416 companies from the U.S. Other leading foreign exhibitor countries included Italy, Great Britain, France and China. As in the past, Messe Düsseldorf North America organized two… Continue reading →

New RP-VITA Platform Is Transforming Team-Based Care

 

By Charlie Huiner Vice President, Marketing and Business Development InTouch Health

MP3 players didn’t become widely adopted until the iPod revolutionized their ease of use. Similarly, InTouch Health’s new RP-VITA remote presence robot is taking ease of use to the next level with its environmental awareness and autonomous capabilities. Simply by tapping a tablet screen, a clinician can select a destination (such as the ICU) and RP-VITA undocks and goes there independently.

Upon arrival, RP-VITA coordinates the care provided by a multidisciplinary team – some local, some remote. Not only does RP-VITA transform team-based care, but it adds a new layer of clinical value by serving as a force multiplier to existing onsite staff. In short, RP-VITA brings healthcare’s long-sought triple aim into reach: improving healthcare access to entire populations, reducing per-capita costs, and dramatically enhancing the patient experience (both quality and satisfaction).

Remote presence is already playing a pivotal role in TeleStroke and TeleICU management with the InTouch® Telemedicine System.  This integrated, FDA-cleared approach to high-acuity telemedicine is currently deployed in over 650 hospitals and 70 telemedicine networks.  Helping drive down the staggering $104 billion annual cost of critical care in the U.S., it ensures stroke patients have timely… Continue reading →

Clinical Error Reduction in Intelligent hospitals with AutoID

By: Dr. David Parry FACHI, ARCS
Senior Lecturer and Director of the AURA RFID laboratory

Preventable adverse events during medical care  have recently been estimated to occur  in up to 30%  of admissions to hospital in the USA(Classen, Resar et al. 2011).  The famous “swiss cheese “ model of  human error (Reason 2000), emphasizes the importance of latent errors or “system failures” as opposed to personal failures.  By making systems resilient , the number of simultaneous errors that have to occur – to ”line up the holes in the swiss cheese” becomes larger and the chance of catastrophic failure smaller.

Errors come in all aspects of care, from drug administration to surgery and including failure to follow proper procedures in terms of infection control or safe working practices.

AutoID systems can help reduce errors in two main ways. Firstly, AutoID systems can force or at least strongly encourage the correct behavior – an excellent example of this are hand washing checking systems .  These systems make “the right way” to do things a great deal easier than the “wrong way”. These systems are often designed for particular environments, particular tasks… Continue reading →

Can Healthcare Survive “First Contact”?

By Adam Jung, Wayfinder Technologies, & Robert J. Szczerba, Ph.D., Lockheed Martin Corporation

A common mantra in the military is that “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  Military leaders have been trained for generations that plans need to be adjusted, often quickly, as events transpire.  The military prepares for this with extensive training–providing soldiers with experiences to draw from when battlefield decisions need to be made quickly.  In fact, in peacetime, and to a lesser extent in wartime, most or much of the soldiers’ time is spent training.  One hopes little time is needed for actual battlefield operations.

Conversely, in the healthcare domain, the vast majority of time is spent on operations with a relatively small percentage spent on training.  As a result, healthcare providers, from the practitioner level to the enterprise or national level, need to rely on their own history under high pressure, high consequence conditions and have little time to reflect or engage others on alternate approaches during or after the experience. This makes it extremely difficult for healthcare professionals to combat their “enemies”: unacceptable medical errors, skyrocketing costs, and increasingly complex regulations and legislation.

The military uses various modalities in training. These range… Continue reading →

The 540 Million Dollar Do Over?

by Al Hardy

Sustained! This simple word on a nondescript government webpage impacted a lot of people. Sustained can be defined as upheld or that an objection is valid.  In this case, sustained, effectively changed the status of a $540,000,000 project from on hold to… uncertain.

For those who are not aware of the events: The Veterans Health Administration, VHA, sent out a Request for Proposal to buy a Real-Time Location System, RTLS.  The maximum amount of the solicitation was $540M. The implications were international because of the hardware and subcontractors involved.  The contract was awarded to a single vendor.  A competing vendor placed 3 protests against the award.

The General Accounting Office, GAO, works for the United States Congress. It investigates federal expenditures.  The ruling came from this agency.  The GAO upheld all 3 bid protests.  Meaning, the award is undone and the solicitation, in its current form, is probably over. Actions from the VHA are pending.

I comprehend the personal investment in time, sweat, headaches, and pressure VHA personnel may have experienced: keeping the team focused, building the business case within administrative legal guidelines, managing the acquisition process, evaluating the proposals, vendors trying to influence your buying process,… Continue reading →

Interoperability across the Continuum of Healthcare

From first responders to healthcare providers, how does interoperability affect healthcare quality?

By Vivian Funkhouser, Principal, Global Healthcare Solutions, Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Interoperability is a hot topic in the healthcare industry. Check any emerging trends list of topics in healthcare and interoperability is sure to be a top contender. Yet the word has so many loose interpretations, and it is often hard to determine what healthcare stakeholders mean when using the term. What does interoperability mean when it comes to the continuum of healthcare and how does it affect the quality of care?

Interoperability Defined

The HIMSS Integration and Interoperability Steering Committee defines interoperability as “the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.” Furthermore, interoperability within healthcare can be broken into four categories: patient safety at the point of care, operational efficiency within the healthcare staff, secure communications and seamless connectivity. Across each of these categories, the ultimate goal is to improve outcomes, align to the strategic plan of the healthcare environment and build best practices for quality improvement and measurement.

How Does Interoperability Affect the Quality of Healthcare?

First Responders… Continue reading →

“The Intelligent Hospital” What it is and Why you should Care

By: John Wass

The term “Intelligent Hospital” or “Digital Hospital” has become a more common term as technology takes a more prominent role in the everyday operations of healthcare institutions worldwide. An Intelligent Hospital is a real-time integrated sensor network focused on tracking all things necessary to allow the clinical activities of healthcare to occur as effectively and efficiently as possible.  The Intelligent Hospital allows healthcare teams to focus on the care of their patients, freeing them from the important – but time consuming – logistics of bringing the right patient to the right place at the right time with the right supplies and the right equipment.

The Intelligent Hospital solutions using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) compare real-time data from the sensor network to the expected information in the hospital systems  and create alerts for the right people to take action at the right time.  The history of this activity over time creates a highly granular, precise fact base for a quality engine like 6-sigma or others.

The Intelligent Hospital extends infrastructure beyond the obvious need of water, electricity and Internet, to create an active network that monitors assets, supplies, staff, and patients to produce… Continue reading →

Superhuman Healthcare: Balancing Man and Machine to Reduce Errors and Lower Costs

Richard Boyd Robert J. Szczerba, Ph.D. (Lockheed Martin Corporation)

Achieving a balance between human and computer can lead to “superhuman” healthcare.

We live in an exponential age, an age of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Aided by advancing computer power, often we create systems much more complex than our brains can process. It should not be surprising that, in an interconnected world of such complexity, we frequently see events spin out of our control and overwhelm us. Financial markets crash and digital viruses wrack the Internet. On the network-centric battlefield and in the technology-laden hospital we are asking humans to continuously adapt to enormously complex systems and perform flawlessly where the slightest mistake could lead to a preventable injury or death. As system complexity increases in critical domains, it becomes vitally important that we look for approaches that reduce the likelihood of human error and lower overall costs. We need to go beyond mere human capability.

One such approach is to leverage a process that combines the strengths of both man and machine to determine the best possible outcome. Engineers usually refer to this as the “mixed-initiative planning paradigm,” where both man and machine “negotiate” the best course of action in… Continue reading →

Defining Meaningful Use Stage 2 and What it Means for Your Healthcare Institution

by Vivian J. Funkhouser, Global Healthcare Solutions Principal with Motorola Solutions, Inc

Recent legislation mandates new regulations for healthcare; how will it impact you?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Aug. 23, 2012 ruling on Meaningful Use Stage 2 “specifies the Stage 2 criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments.” All of these changes are expected to take place by 2014.

What are the new criteria introduced in Stage 2? Since Meaningful Use Stage 2 places increased importance on the regulation of electronic transactions, it is important for healthcare facilities to consider technology investments that will help clinicians comply and not hamper care by shifting focus from the patient to the technology.  Healthcare facilities also should consider a mobility strategy that aligns with their strategic plan to ensure they are investing in the right form factors and not burdening clinicians with a plethora of devices that may lead to the “bat belt” effect of carrying too many devices with single applications.

What are the qualifications and which organizations qualify for the EHR incentive payments? The Center for… Continue reading →

Jay Deady’s RTLS Question of the Month

What is the real Impact and potential for RTLS?

Deady: Remember the Intel Inside® advertising campaign of the 1990′s that made Intel and the Pentium chips in personal computers into household names? RTLS has the potential to be inside every hospital across the country as insurers move toward outcomes-based reimbursements that will increasingly put even greater pressure on provider’s margins.

What’s prompting this bold prediction? RTLS’s ability to track, analyze, optimize resource allocation, and improve workflow efficiencies. In addition, it provides a single, easy-to-use solution that delivers a myriad of benefits that can help hospitals tackle clinical, patient safety, financial and operational challenges.

Following are just a few examples of RTLS’s wide-ranging benefits:

•    The average U.S. hospital owns or rents at least twice as many mobile medical devices (pumps, vents, wheelchairs, etc.) as they need because devices can’t be located efficiently. A hard dollar ROI of $3 to $7 for every $1 invested in RTLS can be achieved.

•    Over-crowded emergency departments with now publicly published wait times, and perioperative departments where typically 70% of surgeries don’t start on time, are ripe for the operational improvements that RTLS technology and automated, workflow-driven software offer.  The combination of RTLS and… Continue reading →

Intelligent Hospital Demonstrates How Patient Centric Connectivity Improves Care & Workflow

By: Susan Niemeier, RN, BSN, MHA, Chief Nursing Officer, Capsule Tech, Inc.

The Joint Commission’s number one National Patient Safety Goal for over 10 years is to improve the accuracy of patient identification. The goal states that patient identification should not be performed using a room or location-based identifier and that positive patient identification (PPID) is critical to safe patient care. So PPID is not in question. However, the way in which positive patient identification is achieved and managed, and more importantly how it impacts patient care and clinical workflow in the hospital, is important to consider.

Let’s review how, in the context of medical device integration. The intended benefit of medical device integration is to automate the charting process in order to improve patient care at the bedside and ultimately safety and outcomes. If the technology chosen to achieve this integration does not fit the environment or workflow, it could not only negate the intended benefits, but actually lead to less time at the bedside due to all the workarounds. Furthermore, if the technology doesn’t adequately mitigate the risks for data transmission and right patient to right device, the risk to care, safety and outcomes is compromised.

So how… Continue reading →

Fiscal and Physical Visibility: A Challenge to the Status Quo

By Al Hardy

“Drive policy changes and business practice improvements by: Increasing visibility through interfacing asset management systems, financial management systems, and capital replacement systems.”

This guiding principle from my book, Covering Your Assets by Exposing the Butt-Ugly Truth, tends to challenge current reporting practices. Because of government healthcare policy and general accounting practices, asset related costs are assigned to a department through depreciation. Supplies may or may not be chargeable to a patient.  Labor costs are calculated in overhead. These costs are indirect – not related to a specific treatment for a specific patient.  While reporting wise, we are stuck with these practices, the integration service provided through RTLS, allows more direct assignment of costs.

Why does no one want to pay on the cost of care? Perhaps, it’s because few know what it really costs to treat a particular patient for a particular illness or injury over a particular period of time.  Integration of RTLS/RFID hardware and software with other applications increases the amount of fiscal and physical visibility. It does this by automatically connecting the physical movements of people to an event during a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

For our purpose, integration allows the communication between software… Continue reading →

The RTLS Patient Safety Improvement Opportunity

By Dennis O’Leary, MD

The goals of any healthcare technology should be to improve healthcare quality and patient safety, contain or reduce healthcare costs, mitigate risk exposures, and enhance revenues. Relatively few technologies score high in meeting all of those objectives, but real-time location systems (RTLS) clearly do.

RTLS is a wireless technology that permits hospitals to track the location and status of moveable medical equipment, patients, and staff. Through the attachment of battery-powered tags to equipment and persons of interest and strategic deployment of sensors throughout a facility, RTLS essentially functions like an indoor global positioning satellite system. The tags also have the capability to interact with each other. In addition, most RTLS solutions include applications that enable institutions to monitor, analyze, and manage workflow in discrete locations such as the operating room (OR) and emergency department, and to monitor both temperature and hand hygiene.

Among the foregoing goals, improving patient safety gets my top vote. Despite the healthcare industry’s intense efforts to make care safer over the past two decades, there remains a substantial amount of low-hanging patient safety improvement fruit. We need look no further than the November 2010 reports in the New England Journal of Medicine… Continue reading →

Healthcare Simulation in the Post-Mannequin Era

By: Robert J. Szczerba, Ph.D. Lockheed Martin Corporation and Frank Boosman Z Shift, Inc.

In 2010, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs used the words “post-PC era” to describe the impact of new computing devices such as tablet computers.1 In this description, he was clear that personal computers (PCs) would remain with us for a long time to come. By “post-PC era,” Jobs meant the era in which PCs are no longer the focal point of computing for most people.

In a manner similar to the early PC market, the healthcare industry has mainly focused on the interactions with a single technology: the mannequin. When healthcare professionals use the terms “simulation” and “simulation center” to describe how they train clinicians, what they typically mean is “mannequin” and “mannequin center.”

Good reasons exist for this. The focus of a clinician’s work is, by definition, interacting with patients, and the mannequin is the best technology currently available for the immersive simulation of patients, providing for both input (clinician actions) and output (patient responses) using a variety of mechanisms. Mannequin technology is well-understood, and studies across a variety of clinical task domains have validated the value of mannequin-based training.2, 3

Yet with this in… Continue reading →

Q&A with Jay Deady, CEO of Awarepoint Corporation

Jay Deady, President and Chief Executive Officer, Awarepoint

By Dan Frisch – IHToday

Since December of 2010, Jay has served as president and chief executive officer of Awarepoint.  In this role, Jay is responsible for driving the strategic vision for Awarepoint as well as attracting, retaining, and motivating an exceptional executive staff and senior management group.  Jay also serves on the Awarepoint board of directors.

Prior to Awarepoint, Jay has had an outstanding career of building high performing teams in healthcare information technology for over 23 years, including significant experience as a public corporate officer. He was most recently the executive vice president of client solutions for Eclipsys where he drove the global go-to-market and solution delivery strategies, and successfully positioned the company for its merger with Allscripts. Prior to Eclipsys, he was senior vice president and general manager of revenue cycle at McKesson Provider Technologies. He also held general manager and vice president positions with Cerner Corporation and ADAC Healthcare earlier in his career. Jay received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with emphasis in economics from Tufts University in Massachusetts.

IHToday: Before we get started, we want to thank you for your time and participation… Continue reading →

Intelligent Hospital Ushers In New Era of Collaboration in Clinical Technology

Keley John Booth, MD SVP of Perioperative Clinical Care

These are exciting times for all as health care is in the midst of a transformation destined to reshape the way care is delivered in our country and ultimately much of the world. One of the single largest implementations of technology in any industry’s history is underway in the United States with the adoption of electronic health records and electronic medical records. The Affordable Care Act, recently upheld by the United States Supreme Court, stands poised to reshape the face of healthcare for the most expensive health care system on the planet. Regardless of your role as clinical professional, executive, administrator, vendor, manufacturer, or consumer there is much at stake.

The importance of the role of advanced technologies in delivering a successful health care future cannot be overstated. With this in mind, the Intelligent Hospital is exploring the rapidly expanding role of wireless and other cutting-edge technologies in perioperative and clinical care environments.  In an ongoing series of articles, we will explore modern and emerging technologies destined to change the way perioperative care is accessed, allocated, managed, and delivered. From supply chain management to clinical care logistics and advanced data systems… Continue reading →

RFID Tracking Vs. Barcode Scanning: How to Determine Which Is Essential for Your Healthcare Environment

By Vivian Funkhouser, global business development principal for Healthcare at Motorola Solutions

In the ever-changing world of healthcare technology, one thing is certain: information technology departments around the world are tasked with the increasingly difficult duty of staying on top of the latest trends while deciphering between the need-to-have and nice-to-have technologies.  When it comes to solutions for asset management and tracking, what really affects the decision to implement radio-frequency identification (RFID) or barcode scanning technology, and are the two mutually exclusive?

Let’s start by defining the technologies. We certainly are familiar with barcodes, whether a simple linear barcode (1D) or a complex matrix barcode (2D). Keep in mind that more information can be packed into a 2D barcode to support inventory and track items through the supply chain. In addition, 2D scanning tools can capture both 2D and 1D barcodes while a linear barcode scanner can scan only 1D barcodes.

RFID is a wireless communications technology in which specialized radio-frequency tags are placed on assets that can be read by mobile and fixed RFID readers. There are several flavors of RFID technologies to consider. Active RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems) provide the most detailed visibility of assets for real-time monitoring.… Continue reading →

RFID Medication Management in an Intelligent Hospital – with Jay Williams

IHToday: Before we get started, please tell us a little bit about your company, its products, and directions for the future?

Jay Williams: MEPS was founded ten years ago and, in 2006, was spun-off from Safety Syringes, Inc. and incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Howard Energy.  We are located in Carlsbad, CA just north of San Diego.

In 2001, two key managers of Safety Syringes, Inc. asked themselves, “How can we better utilize RFID technology to track medications in SSI syringes throughout the hospital?” Ultimately, it was concluded that RFID technology would be a valuable tool for all medications distributed to patient’s bedside….a Medication Error Prevention System with increased visibility of inventory.

We all know that RFID has very slowly developed into a viable supply chain technology.  There was a time period that everyone thought that Walmart would drive the growth of the industry and reduce the costs of RFID.  It didn’t occur.  Today, once again, the market is being driven by the retail industry and we strongly believe the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries will follow and benefit from global standards which have reduced costs through a large network of hardware and tag suppliers.

Our Intelliguard® Medication Management… Continue reading →

Veterans Affairs Implementing RTLS across Seven Midwest Hospitals

As reported by RFID Journal, seven VA facilities, located in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, which are a part of the VA’s VISN 11 region, are installing six different types of real-time location systems, as well as passive RFID tags and other auto-ID technologies, with all data managed by Intelligent InSites on a single RTLS software platform.  The VA’s intention is to improve staff efficiencies, and thereby provide better medical care to Veteran patients.

The RTLS solution is being implemented by Hewlett-Packard (HP) Enterprise Services, with a variety of hardware vendors providing real-time location and temperature data. Intelligent InSites’ enterprise-wide RTLS software provides a single user interface for the applications, by managing real-time RTLS data and passive RFID data culled from all of the individual hardware systems.

The installation is being called the largest such RTLS installation to date, with over 439,000 individually-tracked items. Once completed, it will include 25,000 active RTLS tags, 94,000 passive RFID tags, and 2,000 wireless temperature and humidity sensors, and will cover a combined total of approximately 4.5 million square feet. The system also includes bar codes etched on 255,000 surgical instruments, as well as passive RFID tags for the 63,000 cardiac catheterization lab supplies… Continue reading →

An Unwitting “Pioneer” In RTLS

– A First-Hand Account of RTLS “then to now” – by Andrew Olscher,  Editor: The “Intelligent HospitalTM” Pavilion Handbook”

Life tends to quite unexpectedly come full circle. Thirty years ago I was a struggling musician and writer living in Toronto. Partnered with a college friend, we had dreams of starting an independent record label, but both, strapped for cash, got part-time jobs working in the Supply, Processing and Distribution (SPD) department of a metropolitan hospital.

Our plan – simple. Work for six months, get ourselves established, hit the record charts big time, move to Nashville or LA. Unfortunately, reality and life got in the way. My six months at the hospital turned into close to four years, working both part-time and full-time – and Nashville, LA? Those are cities I have yet to visit.

My job at the hospital was rather routine. We took daily inventory of supplies used to replenish large supply carts that attached to an automated, ceiling-suspended, monorail system. The carts were programmed with a numbered code on several dials of the transporter module and, in turn, the carts were automatically delivered by elevator to a specific floor of the building. Additionally we delivered “stat” meds and instruments to all departments, patient floors and surgical suites as needed . Continue reading

Integrated Approach to Solving Patient Flow Issues

By Shelly Schulz, RN Education & Training Manager, Intelligent InSites

Overcrowding and increasing patient wait times are issues for just about every hospital, especially in the Emergency Department. Across the country, the average emergency room wait time is now 222 minutes  — that’s 3 hours, 42 minutes. Not only is that frustrating for patients and staff, but certainly a concern from a revenue perspective as well. How? One example is that poor patient flow increases the likelihood of patients leaving without treatment (LWOT), which translates into less ED revenue and lower admissions. But it’s not an ED issue only, as poor patient flow impacts other areas as bottlenecks in one department have a cascading negative effect on the efficiency of the entire system. It’s a cycle that no hospital wants.

So when it comes to solving patient flow issues and improving capacity management – it helps to look at things from a system perspective and assess the role of people, technology, and processes in driving improved patient flow.

Let’s start with PEOPLE. There is no doubt that any change in patient flow requires the cooperation of medical personnel, ancillary staff, and patients. Keeping patient needs first will help you determine… Continue reading →

Home of the Innocents Gives Medically Fragile Children Expanded Freedom

The Home of the Innocents is a 131 year-old private facility in Louisville, KY, that cares for medically fragile, abused and severely autistic children. As the facility expanded in recent years, it created the Rainforest Trail wing, which is designed to be a home-away-from-home for children who are on ventilators or require other technology to sustain life. Despite their reliance on these machines, these children are surprisingly mobile. With the assistance of ventilator-equipped wheelchairs, they attend classes, go to physical therapy, visit the multi-sensory room and aquatics center, and go to appointments with specialty doctors in nearby buildings on the Home of the Innocent’s campus.

However, this type of mobility presented challenges for staff and administration.  These children need a qualified staff person by their side at all times, to ensure there are no problems with their ventilators and that their vital signs remain stable. In their rooms, a bedside nurse would be able care for multiple children. However, when one child would leave their bed to go to one of the other destinations, hospital policy dictated that the child would have to be accompanied by a nurse or respiratory therapist to ensure that problems could be addressed immediately. These… Continue reading →

 

Revolutionizing Healthcare: Interview with Dr. Robert J. Szczerba

Did you know that Lockheed Martin has been in the healthcare space for more than 20 years? Known primarily for its aerospace and defense work, the company is using its engineering and technology expertise in a variety of industries that you might not expect—from healthcare to solar energy.

Recently, Dr. Robert J. Szczerba, Lockheed Martin’s corporate director of Global Healthcare Initiatives and senior fellow emeritus, spoke with Intelligent Hospital Today editor Dan Frisch to discuss Lockheed Martin’s growing healthcare business.

IHToday: What is Lockheed Martin doing in healthcare?

Szczerba: Our healthcare work began with health information technology but has grown and diversified through the years. We perform health-related services in almost all of the nation’s 50 states. Our employees share research results and track disease outbreaks. We supply military health systems with medicine and equipment and build and equip military hospitals and clinics. We also operate in more than 50 clinics in support of our veterans and manage credentialing for physicians.

One of the efforts I’m most excited about is the ICE STORM ™ (Integrated Clinical Environment; Systems, Training, Operations, Research, Methods) initiative. It allows us to create virtual worlds that model clinical environments. We leverage our expertise in… Continue reading →

An Interview with The President of the RFID in Healthcare Consortium

By Dan Frisch Editor- Intelligent Hospital Today

I have been working with the RFID in Healthcare Consortium for about 2 years. I was recently asked to be the editor of Intelligent Hospital Today and without hesitation I excepted the job. As this is the first issue of IHToday, I thought it would be appropriate to include an interview with the president of the consortium. I was able to sit down with Dr. Paul Frisch over lunch and talk about the RFID in Healthcare Consortium. We discussed the mission of the consortium as well as the future plans for the Intelligent Hospital.

IHToday: How did you get involved with the RFID in Healthcare Consortium and Intelligent Hospital design?

Dr. Paul Frisch: My involvement in the RFID in Healthcare Consortium stemmed from the initial electromagnetic interference concerns of RFID’s impact on medical devices and patient safety.    As the Chief of Biomedical Physics and Engineering at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, my responsibilities focus on equipment management and patient safety.  I was also involved in an FDA group addressing several fundamental areas of concern, such as, middleware applications manipulating medical device data, data delivery as it relates to primary and secondary information, and EMI.  From there I… Continue reading →

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