When Your RTLS Technology Vendor Goes Out of Business

RTLS Vendor out of business

by Houston Klassen, Executive VP, Infinite Leap

The Monday, May 28th issue of HIStalk mentioned that one of the RTLS hardware/software vendors, Awarepoint, was shutting down its operations. It took me a bit by surprise as I’ve been involved with the RTLS/Healthcare world for the last dozen years and I’ve personally worked with many people at Awarepoint. They went through some tough times, as most businesses tend to do, they’ve readjusted their vision to try to better accommodate the evolving market needs and even made some technology changes to work to become a better overall solution. Not to mention that they’ve had some very prominent healthcare organizations as clients. Ultimately, we’ll probably never know the exact reasons that led to this. I feel for the staff and the financial backers, but most of all for the clients who had invested and came to rely upon the company and their solution.

If I’m in their clients’ shoes, I’m wondering where I turn, and I’m wondering how I can rescue the dollars that I’ve spent implementing the solution. Hopefully, there have been some arrangements made to give healthcare clients some sort of runway, access to the remaining hardware inventory, and the ability to manage and maintain the software. However, if the rumblings are correct, there are some tough decisions that are going to have to be soon made. I’d also need to start thinking about how I support a product that doesn’t have a vendor standing behind it.

If you are one of the hospitals facing the predicament of owning an Awarepoint solution that is now a potentially “orphaned RTLS technology,” you’ve got to be asking yourselves these questions. The first questions are fairly easy but depending upon the situation, they may get more difficult to answer the deeper you dig. By the way, these aren’t bad questions for any organization to be looking into, regardless of the ongoing viability of your selected technology.

  • How are we using RTLS? What processes does it impact (e.g. finding equipment, monitoring temperatures for compliance, orchestrating patient flow)? Are any of these use cases mission critical?

  • Who will be impacted if our RTLS system stops working? My patients, my nurses, my biomed technicians? How will it impact our patient and staff satisfaction, or their safety?

  • If our RTLS data is used for compliance, such as the reporting of historical temperatures, or delivering documentation into the EHR, where is the that data stored and how has it been backed up? And, can we access the backups now?

  • What other systems are integrated with my RTLS system? What would it mean to our nurse call, CMMS or EHR systems if RTLS data stopped flowing? Will the loss of RTLS data impact the integrity of any other systems or information?

  • What specific hardware and software components do we use? Will we be able to buy replacement parts if the vendor goes out of business? What if the software stops functioning?

  • How do we provide systemic support without the vendors assistance? Are we able to keep it operational by ourselves?

  • How long can we maintain our current system? Is there an alternate solution available?

  • What would it take us to convert our current RTLS solution to another software/hardware vendor – in terms of the budget, resources, and timing?

As you think about these questions, you will likely have one of two responses. First, you may be relieved that you are in good shape (take a deep breath and exhale), or second, you may feel overwhelmed (take a deeper breath) as you likely did not fully consider your product-vendor going out of business as a realistic scenario. If your answer more resembles the latter, and especially if you’ve been directly impacted by this latest development with Awarepoint, I would like to personally offer my assistance in talking this through. No cost, no obligation… just time invested on a phone call to discuss what options you might have, to make the best of a tough situation and to retain as much value from your RTLS investment as possible.

At the very least, we may be able to offer some answers to the inevitable questions that will be asked by your peers and leadership. 

Please contact me on LinkedIn if you would like to talk.


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