Real-Time Location System Tracks Staff, Patients, and Equipment, Reducing Costs, Improving Infection Control and Room Turnaround, and Generating High Satisfaction

Two hospitals (a 40-year-old flagship facility and a new 58-bed facility) that are part of the Texas Health Resources health system use a real-time location system enabled by radio frequency and infrared identification technology to monitor the location of major pieces of equipment; one hospital also uses it to monitor the whereabouts of patients and staff, and the second hospital is in the process of adding this capability. Integrated into other information systems within the hospitals and overseen by a centralized “mission control” unit, the system is used to improve various clinical and nonclinical processes, including asset management, infection control, room turnover, and transportation. It is not used in a punitive manner with staff. The system has significantly reduced annual equipment costs, room turnaround time, and staffing costs, and contributed to high levels of patient, physician, and staff satisfaction.

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