A Florida hospital says electronic tracking of nursing personnel is helping it refine their workflow and work habits and lay the groundwork to replace the obsolete "midnight census" method of determining staffing requirements.
Florida Hospital Celebration Health is using Real Time Locating System (RTLS) tags and sensors from Stanley Healthcare, a division of Stanley Black & Decker that provides inventory, security, and safety products for the healthcare industry. Like GPS, RTLS is location tracking technology, but with greater precision for tracking movements within a building rather than across the globe. Stanley's product is based on the 2012 acquisition of AeroScout. The hospital initially signed up with AeroScout for a 2011 pilot of the technology in a 32-bed surgical unit and has been "continually, slowly expanding it" to other units ever since, according to Ashley Simmons, director of performance improvement. This summer, the nurse tracking technology is slated to move into the emergency department.
The Celebration Health hospital in Kissimmee, near Orlando, is part of the Florida Hospital network, which in turn is part of Adventist Healthcare. Celebration Health is also "a flagship for innovation and IT" within the system, Simmons said. After a half-dozen years of using AeroScout technology for asset tracking, as in equipment, the hospital decided to explore how it could be applied to nursing and "the people assets" within the hospital, she said in an interview.
A heat map visualization shows the location of the greatest traffic within a nursing unit.
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— David F. Carr is the editor of InformationWeek.com Healthcare.