6 ways managing equipment with RTLS helps design a better care experience

By Jeanne Kraimer, Marketing Manager, Midmark RTLS

In today’s hospital setting, missing mobile medical equipment is a widespread problem. Nursing teams and biomedical teams can’t find equipment, which not only impacts the timeliness but also the safety of patient care.  

Hospital executives typically look to resolve perceived equipment shortages by purchasing more equipment. However, the equipment they already have is likely underused: the average asset utilization rate is 30 to 40%.

Real-time locating systems (RTLS) provide a remedy to this problem with asset tracking and management, one of the most common and helpful use cases for the technology. RTLS offers a bird’s-eye view of where tagged equipment is in the hospital and allows staff to proactively manage inventory levels in different areas or on different floors.

RTLS for asset management brings benefits to many different roles and teams across the organization. Here are six reasons why healthcare organizations choose to invest in RTLS:

(1)  It drives higher equipment utilization with reduced inventory. RTLS allows hospitals to get more out of the equipment they already own, simply by providing visibility to asset locations. This means fewer devices to purchase, no bloated inventory and fewer service contracts.

(2)  It addresses demand across multiple departments/facilities. Midmark RTLS Asset Tracking + Management allows staff to set PAR (Periodic Automatic Replenishment) levels for different units in the hospital. Units can choose the level of inventory they need to operate efficiently, and RTLS monitors the inventory, providing alerts when the number of assets falls outside of the selected range, or PAR levels. This allows each unit to proactively assess demand.

(3)  It enables better asset and rental inventory management. If your facility rents mobile medical equipment, using RTLS for asset management may allow you to reduce equipment rentals and operate with a smaller (but more highly utilized) fleet. When each piece of equipment is used to its fullest potential (see #1), less equipment is needed.

(4)  It improves caregiver satisfaction and productivity. On average, caregivers spend 30 minutes each shift searching for equipment to provide patient care. By proactively replenishing units with the help of PAR level alerting, caregivers will have the equipment they need where they need it, when they need it, with no searching necessary. If your facility isn’t ready for a proactive equipment replenishment system, RTLS still provides a significant benefit through real-time visibility: it helps caregivers find equipment quickly, minimizing delays to care.

(5)  It helps achieve the Joint Commission’s standard of 100% preventive maintenance (PM) completion. When equipment is nowhere to be found, an expectation of 100% PM compliance seems impossible. With RTLS, biomedical technicians can easily locate equipment to perform maintenance and ensure continuous uptime. Asset locations can even be integrated into your health system’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) so there’s no need to look outside the work order to locate equipment.

(6)  It improves patient care. Last (and perhaps most important), RTLS can reduce delays to patient care. Caregivers have (or can easily find) the equipment they need—and that equipment is safer and well-maintained. Timely, attentive care increases patient satisfaction, which can result in a better experience for both patient and caregiver.

Want to learn more about using RTLS for asset management? Download our eBook “How to Eliminate an EAE (Evasive Asset Epidemic)”.