One of the best parts of being able to solely focus on the use of RTLS technologies within the healthcare environment is that we continually run into really interesting people, with deep experience and great stories about how RTLS has made a real difference to them, their hospitals, their colleagues and ultimately to the patients they serve. As we would like to share these experiences with all who use RTLS or who are in some ways connected to Real-Time Technologies, we created a group on LinkedIn to support the community of RTLS users. We invite you to join this group (RTLS in Healthcare Community) and actively participate in it by asking questions, sharing best practices, or just introducing yourself to the community.
From time to time we plan to feature some of the interesting people who we’ve met along our journeys, so that you too can benefit from their experiences and insight.
This week, our featured RTLS in Healthcare Community member is Tony Florence. Tony is a Business Analyst in the Bio-Medical Engineering Department at WellStar Health System located in Atlanta, GA.
Infinite Leap: Tony, can you share with us why you are interested in RTLS?
Tony Florence: I live and breathe RTLS. I am responsible for coordinating the implementation of new projects and upgrades to existing systems, software, hardware and platforms throughout our healthcare system. We currently use Stanley MobileView Temperature Monitoring, MobileView Asset Tracking Monitoring, MobileView Hand Hygiene Monitoring system and the Infant protection, “Hugs” (infant) and “Kisses” (Mothers). I am in charge of setting up users, departments, categories, assets, daily/monthly reports and alerts for out-of-range temperatures and other reports for the use of our management team and accreditation institutions.
Infinite Leap: What is your biggest personal accomplishment in RTLS space?
Tony Florence: I am a strong believer that you need a good, in-depth and personalized training
to get end-users fully on-board. Otherwise the chances for the new technology to stay in use
vanishes the moment the technology provider leaves the building. So, I am really proud of a successful user training program that I designed and implemented for over 1,000 users of our temperature monitoring system.
Infinite Leap: Can you share with us how your hospital uses the capabilities of Real-Time Location Systems?
Tony Florence: Our hospital uses RTLS for tracking location of medical equipment and automatically monitoring temperatures of refrigerators and freezers. We are also piloting an RTLS system for assisting us with hand-hygiene compliance and staff duress.
Infinite Leap: I am curious about the type of equipment your hospital decided would be important to monitor the location of?
Tony Florence: We tag various type of equipment, mostly IV pumps, breast pumps, hospital beds, wheelchairs, workstations on wheels.
Infinite Leap: And how about temperature-monitored units?
Tony Florence: Our department is responsible for monitoring the temperatures on everything: vaccinations, tissue, blood, medications, patients’ specimens for lab testing. The only refrigerators our department is not responsible for are medication dispensers on the unit floors as pharmacy itself monitors them. We’ve decided that the most effective way to do this is through the use of the temperature monitoring capabilities provided through our RTLS infrastructure.
Infinite Leap: Please tell us about how automated temperature monitoring technology has benefited your hospital?
Tony Florence: We see great value in the system by ensuring patient safety and enabling nurses to spend more time with patients, instead of checking temperatures of refrigerators. I believe we have saved $1.7M worth of medication from potential spoilage which completely justified the investment made to install the technology. Recently, our automated temperature monitoring system was officially approved by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), meaning that we now qualify for the CDC program that provides WellStar with free medications and vaccinations that we distribute and administer to underprivileged children whose parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.
Infinite Leap: What were the lessons learned from implementing an automated temperature monitoring system that you’d like to share with others?
Tony Florence: What was really interesting is that because we finally had accurate measures of temperature data, we came to find that we had a substantial issue with the non-medical grade refrigeration units, and that they were the units that were causing the majority of out-of-range alerts. As a result, within six months we replaced all of those with medical grade refrigerators, which enabled us to ensure patient safety and maintain regulatory compliance. The added benefit of that was that these units stay in range, which further reduced the “out of compliance alerts” which provided us even more time to take care of the important tasks.
Infinite Leap: What advice do you have for hospitals just starting with RTLS?
Tony Florence: There are many benefits of a properly planned RTLS infrastructure. Certainly, more than any of us would have considered at the start, but as with any new technology there is so much more to making it work than just turning it on. It is absolutely key to socializing the value of the system, which ultimately will result in getting managers and staff to become believers and to support its use. And the only way to get that support is to consistently demonstrate the value that it delivers to our care providers, our operational team, and ultimately to our patients. Once they see that, proving and maintaining the success comes pretty easily.
Infinite Leap: Tony – As we are building our Community, can you please share with us some of your personal interests and passions?
Tony Florence: During the winter, I become a movie buff; nothing I like better than watching a good movie. During the summer, I’m an outdoors person and spend most of my personal time camping and trout fishing. We have three dogs that I enjoy playing with or just taking them for walks.
Infinite Leap: Tony – thank you again for sharing your RTLS experiences with our RTLS community.
Tony Florence: Anytime!
If you would like to share your thoughts and best practices on RTLS, drop me a note – I’d love to chat with you to capture your experiences. www.linkedin.com/in/joannawyganowska