HIMSS18 Recap: Using RTLS to manage IV pumps and save $1M

This year at HIMSS, two innovative Midmark clients presented how they use Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) to improve efficiency and patient care in their facilities. Their stories were very different, showing how RTLS provides tangible value in a range of clinical environments, from ambulatory to acute.

This week we’ll recap the session given by Dave Dickey, MS, FACHE, CHC, CCE, CHTM, Vice President of Clinical Engineering at McLaren Health Care. Dickey shared how his hospital in Flint, Michigan implemented RTLS to improve IV pump utilization and saved over $1 million in the process. Next week, we’ll take a look at Dr. Kevin Hoover’s session about using RTLS to automate patient flow in VCU’s multidisciplinary clinic.

"I envision that some day in the future all powered devices will have RTLS integrated directly into the device power supply."
- Dave Dickey, Vice President of Clinical Engineering, McLaren Health Care



Where are the IV pumps?

Like most hospitals, McLaren Flint had a problem with IV pump hoarding. Nurses kept IV pumps stashed in patient rooms and other locations to ensure they were available for patient care. This created perceived shortages and frustration amongst McLaren staff, but was dismissed as an everyday challenge to be dealt with.

In 2015, the time came for McLaren Flint to replace its entire IV pump fleet due to age. Nursing recommended that 1,000 new pumps be purchased, roughly a 30% increase from their previous IV pump fleet.

A revealing utilization study

Before purchasing 1,000 new IV pumps, McLaren Flint conducted two manual studies to determine how often their existing fleet was actually in use. The studies revealed that IV pump utilization rates were at a mere 30% (similar to the industry norm of 30-40%). Purchasing more pumps than their original inventory was not the solution to the IV pump shortages—what they really needed was to use their existing fleet more efficiently.

An idea formed: what if McLaren purchased a smaller quantity of pumps and used the remaining budget to implement RTLS? RTLS would help McLaren manage their IV pump inventory and “sweat their assets” – or use their IV pumps more effectively to provide better patient care.

At first, nursing was skeptical. The concept of having access to IV pumps without having to search for them seemed like a pipe dream. But they took a leap of faith and agreed, and McLaren moved forward with the RTLS implementation.

Capital Savings of > $1 million

Using Midmark RTLS, McLaren Flint’s final decision was to not purchase 1,000 new IV pumps, but 600 – saving over $1 million in capital expenditures. At HIMSS18, Dickey shared how RTLS was instrumental in the breakthrough at McLaren Flint and praised the technology for its potential to reveal operational insights. To learn more, download the slides from Dickey’s presentation here.