|One of the largest hospital construction projects
|Versus's largest single installation
|The Johns Hopkins Hospital
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 Wi-Fi Shortcomings
In an interview with Healthcare Informatics, Mike McCarty, Johns Hopkins’ Chief Network Officer, said Wi-Fi technology 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,
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
Par Levels Ensure Equipment Availability
Beyond the simple locating of equipment, Versus Advantages Asset Tracking & Fleet Management software 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.
|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 Versus’ Nurse Companion software. 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.
Food Delivery Gets Efficiency Boost with RTLS-monitored Towline
The Versus RTLS also plays an integral role in the food delivery system at Johns Hopkins, with the industry’s first-ever RTLS-monitored towline. The chain-driven towline delivers food carts from the kitchen to their final destinations and the Versus RTLS monitors the journey.
“The chain-drive technology is decades old and was chosen for its simplicity and reliability,” Michael Iati, Senior Director for Architecture and Planning at Johns Hopkins, told FierceHealthIT. “But the new twist is the radio-frequency ID system.”1
Versus’ IR and RFID system tracks when food carts leave the kitchen, sends alerts if they’re hung up on the towline, when they reach patient floors, and when they’re ready to return to the kitchen. This eliminates the need for staff to constantly check if food is ready for delivery, and meals get to patients more quickly and with less waste.
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. He also expects to expand the food cart application with temperature monitoring.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 FierceHealthIT.com, “Technology to Redefine Medical Care, Patient Experience at New Hopkins Hospital,” March 29, 2012. <http://www.fiercehealthit.com/press-releases/technology-redefine-medical-care-patient-experience-new-hopkins-hospital>
2 Healthcare-Informatics.com, “RTLS for Asset Tracking and Staff Location,” January 19, 2012. <http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/article/rtls-asset-tracking-and-staff-location>
3 RFIDJournal.com, “Johns Hopkins’ New Facility Tracks Food, Assets, Staff,” May 14, 2012. <http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/9513>