The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Baltimore, Maryland

Learn how Johns Hopkins selected Versus for Asset Tracking, Staff Locating and Nurse Call automation, then scaled their RTLS to include par-level asset management.

Installation Highlights

One of the largest hospital construction projects in history

  • 1.6 million square feet
  • Two 12-story patient towers
  • 33 operating rooms
  • Two emergency departments


Versus's largest single installation

  • 3,550 personnel badges
  • 8,900 asset tags
  • 3,200 sensors
  • Enterprise View pushed to 2,150+ workstations
  • 133 customized List Views
  • 53 Floorplan Views
  • Logging 3,500-5,000 location changes per minute


Multiple applications

  • Par level asset management
  • Nurse call automation
  • Staff locating
  • Reports Plus™ Analytics


System Integrations

  • IBM® Maximo® Asset Management
  • Imprivata® One-Sign Single Sign On
  • Ascom GE Telligence™ Nurse Call
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Case Study

On May 1, 2012, The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened its state-of-the-art, 1.6-million-square-foot facility comprised of two 12-story patient towers, the Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center. Installed throughout is the Versus Advantages™ Real-time Locating System (RTLS).

Rigorous Selection Process Locates Best System

As detailed in Healthcare Informatics, Johns Hopkins’ selection team narrowed down several RTLS proposals to three, including Versus’ infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RFID) solution, a beacon IR/RFID system, and a Wi-Fi based technology. The finalists were evaluated in a 12,000-square-foot simulation center for their ability to track assets and locate personnel. The Versus RTLS out-performed its competitors with bed-level accuracy and was the only system selected to move on to the pilot stage.2

Simulation Reveals Shortcomings of Wi-Fi-only System

In an interview with Healthcare Informatics, Mike McCarty, Johns Hopkins’ Chief Network Officer, said Wi-Fi technology alone was not sufficiently accurate to pinpoint patient locations during their simulations. “The only way to remedy that is to add more access points, which we were not willing to do,” he said.2

Pilot Illustrates ROI Potential

The Versus system was installed in two live settings: an inpatient unit to pilot nurse call automation, staff and asset locating; and the Weinberg OR to locate assets and personnel.

The return on investment (ROI) potential for tracking assets was quickly realized. Mike McCarty, Johns Hopkins’ Chief Network Officer, told RFID Journal, “It became clear there was a tremendous opportunity in savings of people and time.” He noted that by knowing the location of and demand for equipment, the storage and movement of assets could be optimized. “We believe there’s a huge savings there,” McCarty said.3

Both pilots proved successful—the RTLS is still in use at the OR today, and nursing units throughout the new facility experience the efficiency benefits of nurse call automation and real-time locating

When Your OR Never Closes, How Do You Install a System?

The Weinberg OR, a 17-room center, is one of the busiest in the nation, operating almost 24/7. How do you install an RTLS with minimal impact? When your vendor works closely with your environmental services team and local installers, it can be done—without significantly impacting workflow, patients or staff.

By the time the Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center opened to patients on May 1, 2012, use of the Versus system had already expanded beyond the piloted applications.

ROI Improves With Multiple Applications

When it comes to ROI, scalability to additional applications is an important consideration. Leveraging the same RTLS for multiple use cases reduces implementation expense and improves overall ROI. During Johns Hopkins’ initial pilot, Versus successfully demonstrated three use cases (staff locating, asset tracking, and nurse call automation).

When the Versus Advantages RTLS was expanded hospital-wide at the new Sheikh Zayed Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, par-level asset management was also included. As Johns Hopkins considers additional applications for future adoption, they are well-positioned with a highly-scalable RTLS.

Par Levels Ensure Equipment Availability

Beyond the simple locating of equipment, Versus Advantages™ Asset Management provides Johns Hopkins with real-time availability by allowing staff to set customizable equipment par levels. In one application, the Materials Management department ensures optimal levels of five different pump types in key areas of the hospital. When the number of pumps in one unit drops below or goes above the set levels, a color-coded warning is noted on Versus Glance-and-Go™ boards, and notifications are automatically sent to appropriate staff. Equipment can be re-dispersed quickly and efficiently so a pump is immediately available when caregivers need it, where they need it.

Versus Enterprise View

An asset’s par levels can be tracked in key areas of the hospital, showing the current count in each area. Staff sets levels for Critical Low, Par Level and High Warning. Equipment levels can be quickly seen on Glance-and-Go monitors and, when selected, via automatic notifications sent to appropriate staff.

Johns Hopkins’ Service Transport staff also benefit from par-level asset management. Wheelchairs are tracked as they move throughout the facility, and par-level notifications help ensure optimal supply in key areas.

Nurse Companion Helps Drive Patient Satisfaction

In addition to integrating with the hospital’s Ascom GE Telligence system to automate nurse call lights, Johns Hopkins took this RTLS application a step further with Visibility™ Companion. List Views and Floorplan Views display the location of all personnel wearing badges, eliminating the need to search for one another. By enhancing staff efficiency and allowing more time for direct patient care, the RTLS can help drive patient satisfaction and related HCAHPS scores.

Metrics Validate Patient Care, Asset Utilization

Using Versus’ powerful Reports Plus™ Analytics software, Johns Hopkins has direct insight into both patient care activities and asset utilization. Nursing units can create “Room Rounding Logs” and measure metrics like “Time with Patient,” validating the time spent in patient care. Clinical Engineering can run “Utilization by Location” reports to find the percentage of time pumps spend in “out-of-use” vs. “in-use” locations, validating or disproving the need for rentals, leases, or additional purchases.

RTLS Applications to Expand in Next Phase

Based on the RTLS’ success, Johns Hopkins is evaluating the next phase of adoption. In pilots currently being planned, an inpatient unit will badge patients for locating abilities, and an outpatient clinic will use caregiver and patient location information to optimize workflow.

Further, McCarty said he expects to expand the nurse call integration to include call cancellation in addition to light automation.3

The hospital may even take asset management to another level by linking equipment location data to patient records. By determining who is waiting for certain devices and sending alerts when the needed equipment is no longer in use, McCarty notes that efficiency gains can be made that may even shorten hospital stays for patients.3

1, “Technology to Redefine Medical Care, Patient Experience at New Hopkins Hospital,” March 29, 2012.

2, “RTLS for Asset Tracking and Staff Location,” January 19, 2012.

3, “Johns Hopkins’ New Facility Tracks Food, Assets, Staff,” May 14, 2012.


About The Johns Hopkins Hospital

The Johns Hopkins Hospital is a 1,059-bed teaching hospital in Baltimore, MD. Founded in 1889, the hospital is the flagship facility of one of the world’s premier, integrated health systems. Consistently ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of America’s Best Hospitals, Johns Hopkins is globally acclaimed for its high quality healthcare and commitment to patients.