Innovative tracking solutions

Siemens, one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry, and Airedale NHS Trust in West Yorkshire are deploying a pioneering real time location system (RTLS) that is designed to streamline the workflow and improve availability of intravenous (IV) pumps throughout the hospital.
Airedale NHS Trust will use the RTLS solution to track about 100 IV pumps across various buildings on the hospital campus using the hospital’s existing Wi-Fi network infrastructure and ID tags attached to each pump. The goal of the RTLS solution is to optimise use of medical devices within the hospital and identify future applications for tracking and tracing technology.

Increasing efficiencies
 At any given moment the IV pumps can be tracked to within approximately three meters, which will save the resources required to manually locate the devices. The RTLS system also will streamline stock control, ensuring that pumps are available when needed and minimising the time taken to allocate a pump to a patient.
“Airedale NHS Trust is intending to leverage the wireless network and prove both the concept and benefits of location services. This will provide an insight into how RFID technology could enable the more efficient use of medical equipment and thus support our application of the LEAN methodology,” said Rebecca Malin, IT project manager at Airedale NHS Trust.  
Tracking solutions
Siemens Healthcare is leading the project, which includes the provision of workflow consultancy working in partnership with the Trust’s IT Department and LEAN Teams. The foundation of the solution is RTLS software from Ekahau Inc. Also being used are Wi-Fi tags from Ekahau that work as any other standard Wi-Fi network-connected device, requiring no special configuration or additional readers. Systems  integrator QoLcom will be installing the Ekahau RTLS using the existing Siemens Healthcare WLAN network in the hospital and utilising the Ekahau Site Survey to simply and easily confirm network signal strength for location tracking applications throughout the facility.

Delivering better care
“RFID is an exciting technology that can be used in many ways to help NHS Trusts deliver rapid and high standard of care to patients,” said Dorothy Michel, head of Strategic Development for Healthcare at Siemens. “Redesigning workflow also will help shape the entire healthcare organisation into leaner process management. By working in partnership with the hospital’s IT team we can also discover a wider array of opportunities for other uses of RTLS within the hospital environment,” she added.
“Being able to track highly portable items, such as IV pumps, will greatly improve workflow and productivity,” said Barry Read, business development manager at Ekahau. “Our Wi-Fi tags enable accurate, real-time tracking, while our software enables users to know the current and historic locations of assets throughout the facility.”

For more information

Event Diary

Following the 2017 Naylor Report into NHS estates, it has been estimated that estate upkeep costs have reached approximately £10bn in annual funding for 2019/2020.

More recently, ERIC (Estates Returns Information Collection) data collection has contained some deeply alarming news about the condition of NHS buildings and equipment.

Supplier Profiles