HIMSS18 Recap: Using RTLS to Support Patient-Centered Care


This year at HIMSS, two innovative Midmark clients presented how they use a real-time locating system (RTLS) to improve efficiency and patient care in their facilities. In our last blog post, we recapped the session given by Dave Dickey, MS, FACHE, CHC, CCE, CHTM, Vice President of Clinical Engineering at McLaren Health Care, “Real ROI: Using RTLS to Improve Pump Utilization & Save $1M.”

Today, we’ll take a look at a session about ambulatory patient flow from Kevin Hoover, MD, PhD, the Medical Director of VCU’s Health Neuroscience, Orthopedic and Wellness Center — or the N.O.W. Center, as Hoover calls it.

Building the N.O.W. Center

The patient-centered care model at the N.O.W. Center aims to measurably improve the quality of neurological and musculoskeletal health by leveraging teamwork, information technology and innovation. It offers a patient-friendly experience and multi-disciplinary care for patients who have similar symptoms and diagnoses.

When the idea for the center was born, Hoover and his team knew that they wanted to offer the latest innovations, including a self-rooming and on-stage/off-stage design. To achieve this type of workflow, they decided to implement RTLS to manage patient flow.

Automating Patient Flow with RTLS


Hoover described their selection and piloting process for RTLS, including learning about other successful implementations at Virginia Mason, Swedish Medical Group and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

He described RTLS as providing the following benefits:

  • Ability to self-room (with less waiting area and more exam rooms) plus more privacy for patients
  • Visibility to exam room status throughout the center
  • Visibility to patient wait times and visit status
  • Effective coordination of multi-step visits (for example, with Lab or Imaging)
  • Automatic collection of data on key performance indicators, including:
    • Overall length of stay
    • Wait time before entering an exam room
    • Time alone once in the exam room


The result

To judge success of the new self-rooming and coordinated care system, Hoover compared the KPIs from the N.O.W. Center to those of the conventional orthopedic clinic where they piloted RTLS. With the self-rooming system and coordinated care model, they found a significant patient flow improvement for patients for whom X-rays were obtained:

  • Reduced overall length of stay by 26%
  • Reduced wait times by 40%
  • Reduced alone time by 19%
  • Reduced time in x-ray by 36%

To learn more, download Dr. Hoover’s HIMSS18 education session slides.