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The ROI in RTLS for hospital asset management

Submitted byRobert Peed on

Real-Time Location System (RTLS) technology for enterprise asset management allows hospitals to efficiently track and report the location and status of mobile assets and rentals in real time. When the RTLS is equipped with automated dashboards and reporting tools to support asset management, health systems experience dramatically lower rental costs, enhanced resource optimization with significantly reduced equipment inventory, and fewer associated management costs.

In this post, we’ll cover three areas that improve the RTLS return on investment (ROI) for health systems including reduced rental costs, improved equipment utilization and reduced equipment loss. These three factors alone, however, represent only a portion of the value that organizations can realize from RTLS technology. When properly deployed and utilized, the Awarepoint RTLS can deliver a $3 to $7 ROI for every dollar invested to manage assets, with a breakeven time usually occurring only 9 to 12 months after implementation.

Control equipment rental costs
The tracking and management of rental equipment is a challenge for many organizations, which often rent more equipment than necessary, and retain such equipment longer than required.

With awareAssets, part of Awarepoint’s aware360°Suite, the rental management dashboard helps staff track rentals by rate and cost center, and proactively notifies staff of approaching estimated return dates. These notifications help avoid “late fees”, which represents a significant cost for hospitals and a large revenue stream for rental companies. In addition, the system can alert staff when a piece of rental equipment is removed from patient use, which further reduces rental expenditures.

Organizations that use an Awarepoint RTLS system for asset management are often able to reduce rental costs by a minimum of 20 to 25 percent, while improving service levels to frontline caregivers.

Optimize inventory and utilization
In addition to addressing rental equipment usage, awareAssets helps organizations optimize equipment utilization, and in most cases, significantly reduce their capital equipment inventory, which is often 30 to 40 percent more than required to meet patient care delivery needs.

Organizations establish “periodic automatic replenishment,” or “par” levels for commonly used equipment, based on the specific needs of each patient care area. Historic requests for equipment can be evaluated by the organization’s staff to serve as a starting-point for inventory planning and establishing par levels. If available, requests by time-of-day and day-of-week are considered in the planning process.

By establishing these benchmarks first, asset inventory is optimized by aligning actual equipment needs with the patient population served. After RTLS implementation, Sterile Processing Department (SPD) staff can monitor dashboards to visualize par levels, receive alerts if minimum thresholds have been reached, prioritize replenishment rounds and adjust par levels as necessary based on data from the technology.

Hospitals can further optimize utilization by implementing integration with IV pumps. This integration provides status information on an IV pump, such as “Infusing” or “Not Infusing”.

IV pump integration helps SPD staff identify equipment located in patient rooms that has been idle for more than 12 hours and could potentially be returned to circulation.

Reduce theft and loss with RTLS
Optimizing inventory is crucial to obtaining a strong RTLS ROI, but so is protecting the assets from theft, accidental disposal or misplacement within the organization. It is not unusual for the replacement value of lost items to exceed $100,000 for the average 300-bed hospital.

awareAssets provides hospitals with options to deploy different strategies for loss prevention. Some clients choose a real-time recovery approach whereby incidents receive an active response from staff. Other Awarepoint clients choose a retrospective analysis to evaluate each egress incident that did not resolve within a specified time period; the combination of RTLS data and security camera footage can significantly enhance recovery efforts. Both strategies have been shown to be equally effective and the RTLS technology allows for this flexibility when developing a loss prevention program.

In less than a year after implementation, many hospitals find that Awarepoint’s RTLS, when coupled with a structured recovery process, is capable of reducing the incidence of lost equipment by 90 percent or more.

Enterprise-wide asset management
Awarepoint’s RTLS solution ensures robust hospital asset tracking and resource management. The location and status of mobile assets and rentals are mapped and reported in real-time, allowing hospitals to improve service delivery to end users while reducing overall inventory (and the associated maintenance burden), and reduce capital expenditures associated with replacement.

ROI is further realized through the system’s standard reports and dashboards that enable healthcare organizations to identify usage and management trends and formulate strategies for improvement.

These cost savings are maximized when awareAssets is leveraged in conjunction with Awarepoint’s aware360°Suite, an advanced enterprise-wide automatic tracking and workflow management tool set. The aware360°Suite is a single platform of integrated software, technology and managed services that optimizes patient, provider and equipment workflows, improves safety and increases capacity.

Once they have realized the value of monitoring the real-time location of their mobile equipment through Awarepoint’s RTLS, most organizations are eager to expand that capability throughout their facilities to improve their capacity management, patient flow, caregiver coordination, patient and caregiver satisfaction, and ED and OR workflows.