Real Time Location Tracking Helps Hospitals with Infection Control and Staff Exposure Detection | RFID Healthcare Security Solution
One of the benefits of real time location systems (RTLS) is that they can be used to rapidly identify staff and other patients that may have been exposed to a contagious disease that is later diagnosed, and develop an effective infection control plan. With the prevalence of news regarding newly diagnosed Ebola patients [link to be added closer to publish date] and unknown exposure of healthcare professionals, infection exposure detection has become top of mind for healthcare professionals.
Without RTLS technology, healthcare systems must treat broadly for anyone suspected of exposure. This time consuming process involves carefully analyzing medical records to identify all front line clinical staff with known contact, as well as all ancillary staff that “may” have been exposed, such as housekeepers and laboratory or radiology technicians. Further complicating the equation is the identification of other staff and patients that may have had contact with these exposed staff members, after the initial contact with the contagious patient. In the event of a major outbreak or epidemic, time is of the essence in creating an exposure audit trail, and protecting care providers is crucial.
RTLS involves the use of small tags attached to equipment, or worn by patients and staff. These "active" tags emit radio signals, which are detected by sensors throughout the hospital. Sophisticated software maps the location, movement and proximity to other tags, and generates exposure logs that can be used in the wake of a confirmed culture.
Monitoring people and equipment
The reality is that any patient or healthcare provider may come in contact with an infectious disease at any given time. The current Enterovirus outbreak is another example of the value of deploying RTLS technology for infection control. From mid-August to September 19, 2014, a total of 160 people in 22 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.
Hospital leaders are more actively considering RTLS for detection of staff exposure to infections. Healthcare executives are aware that RTLS is the only technology capable of monitoring patients, healthcare workers and equipment that has come in contact with an infected person. This real-time awareness facilitates the ability to rapidly put forth an effective prophylactic treatment plan.
The ability to immediately identify potential infection exposure fosters prompt isolation and treatment protocols, which reduces the risk of further spread of the disease. And given the mortality risk of Ebola, in particular, organizations are able to act quickly to minimize further transmission.
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