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RTLS: The Future in Healthcare

Mobile Device Usage Is on the Rise and RTLS Is Expecting Big Growth in Healthcare.

Mobile devices in healthcare are becoming more prevalent than ever – and this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Are you reading this post on your computer or on your phone?  Mobile devices have increasingly become part of our daily lives.  Today we use our phones for almost everything we do – keeping up with friends, managing our finances, reading the news and even watching TV.  Our phones are with us 24/7!  Mobile devices have become an integral part of how many people perform their job every day.  This is now becoming true even in the world of healthcare.

Visited a doctor’s office or hospital recently?  You were likely checked using some sort mobile device, or had your vitals taken and then recorded on a tablet.  Tablets represent the second most-used device in hospitals according to the HIMSS Analytics study.  What’s more, over 40% of those surveyed confirmed they use their smart phones to access information used in providing and coordinating patient care.  It’s no wonder this is the case – if your phone isn’t in your hand right now, I bet it’s within arms reach.

Mobile devices provide doctors and nurses with access to information and critical communications in real time.  Decisions can be made faster, time can be saved and costs can be reduced with such immediate access to information.  It’s easy to see how how mobile device usage is only expected to increase, and why such huge growth is expected in RTLS (real time location systems) in healthcare over the next 3 to 5 years.

Our mobile devices are always with us.  This makes them a powerful tool for gathering, using or sharing information in real time.  With healthcare facilities beginning to implement real-time location systems, the use of mobile devices in healthcare will only grow.  RTLS solutions offer a means of tracking and monitoring staff, streamlining workflows, managing inventory and reducing patient wait times.  The Secure Care Products ENVisionIT® RTLS solution works seamlessly with our mVision® mobile app.  mVision®  enables alerts and alarms to be sent to mobile devices ensuring the fastest response for urgent situations like a staff duress event.

RTLS & Mobile Devices Are Not Without Obstacles

Of course the increasing use of mobile devices in healthcare does not come without risks or challenges.  The decision making and implementation of any new mobile endeavor requires involvement from key stakeholders upfront.  This means that IT, administration and nursing management should be working together to evaluate and implement any new solutions.  Protection of confidential patient information is critical when talking about the use of mobile devices in healthcare, but privacy concerns are not the only possible issue.  The migration to a more mobile-friendly healthcare environment requires careful consideration of many critical areas.  Do you allow users to BYOD (“bring your own device”)?  Have you developed a thorough mobile device policy?  Does your facility have the appropriate infrastructure for mobile device usage?

In addition to the use of mobile devices in healthcare, the implementation of a RTLS solution is a significant investment.  It requires careful review of, planning for and discussion about your strategic goals and objectives for installing such a system.  Where will the use of RTLS have the most impact on your facility?  Do you have significant leasing costs or sizable capital equipment expenditures budgeted for the upcoming year?  Are you concerned about keeping your staff safe from workplace violence?  Are your patient satisfaction ratings where you want them to be?  RTLS can provide the information you need to address all of these issues and more.  As with any major investment, the upfront planning is critical.  A successful RTLS installation will involve many meetings, close coordination with your vendor, prioritization and a phased approach to implementation.

Learn More About RTLS and Mobile Devices in Healthcare

One thing is certain: the use of mobile devices in hospitals will continue to evolve and expand.  HIMSS18 has a variety of mobile-related sessions already scheduled for this year’s conference.  As always, it’s sure to be a great place to hear some of the latest news about the use of mobile devices in healthcare.  We’d love the opportunity to meet with you at HIMSS to showcase our RTLS solution and mobile app.  We believe that RTLS and clinical mobility are the way of the future and that these platforms offer tremendous value to healthcare facilities.  RTLS and mobile devices will become deeply ingrained in the future of healthcare as facilities work to improve patient care and outcomes and streamline operations to reduce costs.

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HIMSS18 – March 2018 in Las Vegas!

Secure Care Products will be at Booth #11647 for HIMSS18

March 5-8, 2018 you’ll find the Secure Care Products team at the HIMSS18 Exhibition Hall.  You can find us in Booth #11647 on Level 1, Hall G of the beautiful Venetian-Palazzo-Sands Expo Center.  Secure Care Products will be showcasing its ENVisionIT® RTLS (real-time location system), Door GUARDIAN® wander management and KinderGUARD® infant protection systems.  Contact us to set up an appointment ahead of the show, or stop by our booth while you’re there!  We’d love to show you how our systems can help improve the overall performance of your facility. #HIMSS18

Violence Against Nurses is “Out of Control”

Startling Statistics for Healthcare Workers

A recent survey of Ontario healthcare workers revealed some startling statistics about workplace violence. The survey conducted for the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) found that 68% of nurses and personal support workers across Ontario have experienced physical violence at least once in the past year. Michael Hurley, OCHU’s president, is quoted as saying “Violence is raging really out of control in these hospitals.”

Unfortunately, if you’ve been working in or around the healthcare field for many years, this news is not a big surprise. It has been known for many, many years that healthcare workers worldwide suffer workplace violence at significantly higher than average rates. Click here for the full news article with more about this most recent survey.

Secure Care Products is proud to offer a real-time location system (RTLS) that creates an ideal solution for addressing staff duress risks.  Our ENVisionIT® real-time locating system (RTLS) can alert fellow staff and security of an event at the press of a button. Alarms trigger notification to our software and mobile devices using the mVision® app. The alarm notifications include a photo push showing the staff member requiring assistance along with their precise location.  Such details provided so quickly and with such accuracy (location within +/- one foot) enable the fastest possible response in a critical staff duress situation. Learn more about our ENVisionIT real-time locating system or request a quote today. Your staff is by far your most valuable asset.  Install a solution that shows your commitment to their safety and let them know help is only a button press away.

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Asset Management – RTLS – Case Study

Like many hospitals and businesses, controlling costs while maintaining and improving quality of care can be a challenge. What if you had an asset management tool that enabled you to quickly locate, track, monitor and respond in real time to fluctuations of equipment allocation? What if you had the ability to “right size your inventory” based on actual real time demands? What if you could quickly and easily locate the assets you need right when you need them?  The next generation in Real Time Locating Solutions (RTLS) from Secure Care Products, LLC, is called ENVisionIT®. This solution enables you to gain such capabilities and so much more.

Gateway Regional Medical Center of Granite City, IL is a progressive hospital located just outside of St. Louis, MO.  They are proud to be using the “next generation” approach in providing cost effective and quality medical care to its patients and staff. Gateway Regional Medical Center is committed to providing cost effective care in the most innovative way possible.

In keeping with its progressive nature, Gateway Regional Medical Center chose Secure Care Products to install its ENVisionIT RTLS system in their emergency department (ED) to manage certain assets and right-size inventory.

Upon installation, ENVisionIT quickly accomplished five key goals:

  1. Provided an easy-to-view floor plan-based interface showing the real time location of all costly assets in the ED to within +/- one foot of accuracy.
  2. Controlled asset shrinkage through the use of asset tags on equipment.  This enabled easy locating on the floor plan, and also managed doors leading in and out of the ED unit by alarming or locking them depending on the asset type and location.
  3. Enabled dramatic improvements in staff time efficiency by eliminating wasted time spent searching for assets. Staff efficiency improvements ranged from 10-20% per shift.  Such improvements allowed resources to better utilize their time on other more critical tasks.
  4. Inventory right-sized for all assets in the ED.  Eliminated waste tied up in assets that were not needed for use in the ED and making them available where they were needed elsewhere in the hospital. Eliminating costs associated with having to purchase more equipment, and avoiding the costs associated with maintenance and calibration of additional equipment that isn’t truly needed.
  5. Cost savings realized due to the above demonstrated a return on investment in less than one year.  This is due in large part to the reduced amount of hardware required to deploy the ENVisionIT product and the reduced installation costs.

Matt Blevins, Chief Operating Officer sees the use of ENVisionIT at Gateway Regional Medical Center as an invaluable business tool in reducing operating costs on both upon installation and on an annual basis.  It optimizes the use of resources which improves patient care. According to Matt Blevins, “The team at Gateway Regional Medical Center is always looking for ‘next generation’ technology to provide an ever-increasing level of care for their patients. We see the ENVisionIT Real Time Locating Solution from Secure Care Products as yet another example of technology helping with patient care at Gateway Regional Medical Center.”

Find out how the ENVisionIT® Real Time Locating System can improve your facility!
Contact us today or request a quote


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The Garlands

The Garlands at Barrington – mVision

The best way to provide the greatest quality care for patients is to be able to have an expedited response time to any and all situations. Having the best security system in place is key and by adding on the use of a mobile application to communicate security events, caregivers are now given the opportunity to keep their focus on their patients. With a mobile application that communicates via smart phones and tablets, caregivers are no longer glued to the areas in which the security equipment is located. They can move about the facility freely and as soon as an event happens they will receive all the information they will need directly to their mobile device to be able to react as soon as possible. The mVision mobile application allows facilities to completely customize their communications of events that happen within their Secure Care Products security system.

The Garlands of Barrington, a retirement community located one hour northwest of Chicago, is proud of its “next generation” approach and full continuum of care for adults 55 and older. Inspired by a small group of long-time Barrington residents and business people, The Garlands represents a new paradigm in care offering comfort, convenience, and peace of mind. Even the design of the 31-acre neighborhood – set among a park of mature trees and rich landscaping – is based on a unique philosophy of New Urbanism. It’s a pedestrian-friendly campus where housing, work places, shopping, and restaurants are all woven into a “neighborhood feel” of incomparable care and unparalleled quality.

In this setting where “only the best will do,” it came as no surprise that The Garlands chose Secure Care Products to create an environment that’s open and accessible, yet safe.  A Secure Care Door GUARDIAN® Resident ID security system was installed in 2014 by SecureCom, a Chicago-based, full-service distributor of Secure Care.  Door GUARDIAN® provides a secure perimeter while enabling residents to freely move about the Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Memory Care areas.  This offers a very high quality of life, while simultaneously providing a high degree of protection from wandering and potential harm. During the summer 2015, The Garlands trialed Secure Care’s innovative “mVision” mobile app as an adjunct to the Door GUARDIAN® system. The mVision mobile app allows staff to continually monitor the secure perimeter and protected doors, receiving instant notification whenever a resident, wearing a small but powerful radio transmitter, moved too close to an opened door.

“mVision allows nurses to tend to the needs of our residents while still staying connected to the security system,” said Amanda Hintz, Director of Memory Enhancement at The Garlands. “It allows us to stay focused on our primary mission: caring. We know with mVision we’ll be immediately alerted if a member is ever in danger of wandering. So we can conduct our rounds – caring for our members and spending quality time with them – knowing everyone is safe and secure. The staff really likes it,” she added. mVision is a mobile app that can be loaded on any Android or Apple iOS smart phone. Working in conjunction with the Door GUARDIAN® Resident ID security system, it follows a highly configurable rules engine to send door alarm information to the phones of caregivers. Alarm notifications can be accepted and handled, or allowed to quickly cascade to the next caregiver in the user-defined list of designated responders.

“Mobility was key for us”, said Scott Weimer, Maintenance Director at The Garlands. “We didn’t want caregivers tied down by the security system. We have a great reputation for hands-on, personal care. mVision empowers that level of care by putting the security system right on the hip of each nurse on-duty. The security system moves with them.“ Mike Banach, president of SecureCom, sees the use of mVision at The Garlands as part of their forward-thinking approach to senior care.  According to Banach, “The management team at The Garlands is always looking for ‘Next Generation’ technology to provide an ever-increasing level of care for their members. We see the mVision mobile app as yet another example of technology in service to caring at The Garlands. And, as the locally-based, factory-trained distributor of Secure Care Products, we’re happy to facilitate its use.” According to Al Larose, Executive Vice President at Secure Care, infant security is the next market to realize the benefits of mVision. “Based on our findings, and the rave reviews we received from the many professionals at The Garlands, we’re now ready to introduce mVision to acute care hospitals providing infant and pediatric security. I have no doubt they, too, will embrace our technology as a way to optimize efficiency while providing security,” Larose stated.

staff safety staff duress solutions

Emergency Communication Best Tool for Nurse and Staff Safety

The United States Department of Labor warns, “Workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings face significant risks of workplace violence. Many factors contribute to this risk, including working directly with people who have a history of violence or who may be delirious or under the influence of drugs…In fact, healthcare accounts for nearly as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined.”  Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are instituting plans and tools to prevent incidents and protect their nurses and other staff.

Some of the most valuable strategies and tools for caring for our caregivers is available through the OSHA Worker Safety in Hospitals page.  In addition, the Joint Commission recommends installing an emergency communication system that enables staff to quickly and easily signal for help in urgent situations.

Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) often provide “panic buttons” for staff duress, however, not all RTLS systems are alike.  In a report published by the PMC, they detail the benefits of Ultra Wideband (UWB) RTLS systems.  They state, “UWB is one of the most recent, accurate, and promising technologies…UWB technology, unlike other positioning technologies such as infra-red and ultrasound sensor, does not require a line-of-sight and is not affected by the existence of other communication devices or external noise due to its high bandwidth and signal modulation.”  This is a significant difference when the application is emergency communication, providing a much more reliable and accurate system.

ENVisionIT by Secure Care Products is an UWB RTLS Solution that includes a Staff Safety Badge that can be worn by nurses and other hospital and healthcare staff.  The Staff Safety Badge has a push button on the badge which can be programmed for staff duress or any other workflow use.  This information can also be directly communicated to mobile devices through the mVision mobile application to all staff, including security.  The mobile app allows you to customize the notifications and set escalation paths ensuring no call for help goes unattended.  This provides a complete safety communication solution for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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Staff Safety: Understanding the Challenges of Workplace Violence

Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of workplace violence of any industry.

With such a large percentage of healthcare workers experiencing workplace violence, staff safety is a major concern to staff and administrators alike.  Changes in healthcare, Medicaid, and technology mean there are many obstacles to overcome, and staff need to feel confident that help is available whenever it’s needed.

staff duress for staff safety RTLSAccording to OSHA, there are many risk factors that vary by healthcare setting, but there are some common factors that contribute to workplace violence:

  • No emergency communication system in place
  • Lifting, moving, and transporting patients
  • Working alone
  • Poor environmental designs that may block vision or escape routes
  • Poor lighting in hallways or exterior areas
  • Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates
  • Inadequate security staff
  • Unrestricted public access

Workplace violence comes at a high cost as it typically involves things like paid leave, medical treatment or legal fees.  There are also some less obvious costs such as stress and fatigue for staff, lower employee engagement which can result in poor outcomes, and a high employee turnover.   With all these factors, why not create an environment that protects staff and reduces the costs involved with workplace violence?  There are many solutions out there, but many are costly without proven results.

Helpful Staff Safety Options:

  • A complete safety communication system that includes a staff duress button worn by staff that sends alarms and alerts to nurse stations, mobile devices, and security consoles.
  • Prevention Programs: a comprehensive program with safety training, work site analysis, record keeping, and hazard identification can help tremendously when management and team members are committed and participate

When you understand the challenges that staff can face, you can better understand how to come up with a solution that will make them feel safe and protected while they are at work.