RTLS: Putting the Evidence in Evidence-Based Design

Jeanne Kraimer




In today’s healthcare environment, the term evidence-based design traditionally refers to decisions about the physical design and construction of a clinical space. The Center for Healthcare Design defines evidence-based design as “the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Patient and staff safety, staff effectiveness, overall patient experience… the physical environment influences nearly every aspect of care. And notice what each of these aspects has in common: they are people-focused. Empathy is at the core of evidence-based design, and it’s crucial to take the time to understand the behaviors of the people who will be experiencing the environment.

At Midmark, we are passionate about creating the best healthcare experience at the point of care through evidence-based design, and we take it a step further: we believe the impact of the care experience extends far beyond the physical environment, and it applies equally to both existing facilities and new builds.

Evidence-based design can be used to improve intangibles like processes and clinical workflow—how patients progress through their appointments, and how caregivers communicate and provide care. Every touchpoint must be considered, and to gain clarity within clinical operations, gathering data is a necessity.

The intersection of data and design
Traditional data collection methods for evidence-based design typically involve time studies and manual records, which can be prone to human error. With real-time locating system (RTLS) technology, you can automatically collect accurate, unbiased data on the movement of patients and staff throughout the clinic—evidence for evidence-based design decisions.

Here’s how it works: RTLS gathers location data using badges (worn by people), tags (affixed to equipment), sensors (placed in the ceiling throughout the facility) and sophisticated software.

Clinical operations managers can use this data to understand patterns, bottlenecks and overall workflow. Some of the questions that can be answered with RTLS data include:

  • From arrival to departure, where do patients spend most of their time?
  • What is the average length of stay?
  • Which exam rooms are used the most (or least)?
  • Where do staff spend most of their time?
  • During what times of day is the facility at capacity?

RTLS fuels organizations with accurate, unbiased data to make evidence-based design decisions, with the goal of creating the most human-centered healthcare experience.

Check out our infographic, The costs of operational efficiencies in outpatient clinics, to learn about some of the inefficiencies that today’s clinics commonly face—and how they can be positively impacted with RTLS.