Debunking RTLS Myths: RTLS is not “Big Brother”

By Jeanne Ehinger, Marketing Manager, Midmark Corp.

One of the most common objections to RTLS comes from caregiver staff who think employers use RTLS badges to track where they are and how long they are there.

“I don’t want them tracking how long I’m in the bathroom.”

“They’ll probably want an explanation every time I spend longer with one patient than another.”

“Does this mean they’ll know where I am at all times?”

In this latest installment of our Debunking RTLS Myths blog series, we address this objection and how RTLS is actually designed to benefit staff, not track them. (In case you missed it, check out the earlier posts in the series: More Than Tracking and  Safe (and Helpful) to Wear.)

Myth #3: RTLS is “Big Brother” and will record everywhere you go.

Technically, RTLS couldbe used in a punitive manner, to monitor staff whereabouts. But the goal of RTLS is not to scrutinize staff behavior, but to improve staff communication and provide operational data in aggregate (not by individual). Both aspects contribute to a positive experience between the patient and caregiver. 

At Midmark, we help our customers find a balance between utilizing RTLS data for workflow improvements and maintaining privacy and trust among staff and administration. The best environment to nurture exceptional patient care and continuous improvement is one of trust and support. However, how RTLS is used comes down to how customers decide to implement it, their goals and the health of their organizational culture. 

The beauty (and usefulness) of RTLS lies in trust. There should be an understanding between administration and staff that RTLS will not be used to inappropriately monitor, punish or scrutinize anyone. Administration should clearly describe to staff when, where and how location data will and will not be collected.

For example, most of our customers do not put sensors in their bathrooms. For those that do, the system may simply display the staff member as “unavailable.” In addition, most administrators using the data have an understanding with staff that the system will not be used to monitor breaks.

In many instances, RTLS data is used to protect staff who wear badges. The data can prove that a rounding check was done on a patient, even if they say otherwise. It also can help determine if and for how long someone has been exposed to an infectious patient, and it can provide the operational data necessary to improve staffing ratios and increase time at the bedside.

Creating a culture built on trust is crucial to the success of RTLS. And once your caregivers realize how much easier their jobs have become by using RTLS, and how RTLS data can be used for their safety and benefit, they’ll appreciate the new tool even more.  

Stay tuned as we debunk more RTLS myths in the weeks to come, here on the Midmark blog.