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RTLS Asset Tracking and How it Can Ensure Staff Safety During Emergencies

By The Altus Team
Published Jun 30, 2022 | 5 min read

Hospitals and healthcare systems routinely use RTLS to manage contact tracing within their facilities. The technology allows hospitals to track patients, isolate infection risks, and more.

Hospital asset tracking offers many benefits during day-to-day hospital operations. It makes clinicians and I.T. job function easier, since though don’t have to search for open equipment or wonder if they just got exposed to a virus. But its benefits don’t end there. In emergency situations, RTLS asset tracking proves invaluable. Keep reading to learn how RTLS asset tracking can ensure staff safety during emergencies.

1. Real-time view of personnel locations

Hospitals can use RTLS asset tracking to monitor their staff regardless of their location within the building. During an emergency, the locations of staff can always be tracked with room-level accuracy. Even if cellular communication isn’t possible, using Bluetooth Low Energy sensors, hospitals can still target the exact location of their providers, nurses, and support staff.

This becomes crucial in emergency situations when staff can’t call for help. For example, if a nurse has collapsed and can’t be found, asset tracking tags allow them to be found quickly and efficiently, even in the event the nurse is unable to audibly summon assistance.

Tracking tags cut down on lost time spent searching for staff during emergencies so they can receive proper help and care, mitigate long-term injury, and reduce costs associated with their healthcare needs.

Additionally, if an emergency arises and a specific nurse or provider is needed to be found and communication channels are disrupted, RTLS tags allow them to be located instantly. Any number of scenarios could arise wherein a member would need to be found immediately. RTLS asset tracking makes that possible, even and especially, during high-stress emergencies.

If you need to locate a staff member for any reason, the sooner you can do so, the better. And with RTLS tracking, they can be located in an instant.

2. Communication via RTLS tags

RTLS tracking tags are vital communication tools during an emergency, or when a nurse feels unsafe. With violence against healthcare workers becoming a common occurrence, RTLA asset tracking is needed more than ever. One study found that 44% and 68% of nurses reported experiencing physical and verbal assault respectively. When nurse assault occurs, the victims often don’t have the time or capacity to pick up a phone to call for help. Thankfully, asset tracking tags allow nurses, providers, and staff to summon security or back up during physical or verbal altercations with patients or hospital visitors.

Many hospital asset tracking badges house a panic-button option for the wearer to press in the event of an emergency. This technology allows staff to call for help regardless of their location on the hospital’s campus. Asset tracking tags that operate through the hospital Wi-Fi network empower staff to call for help with –– literally –– the push of a button.

This resource becomes essential during emergencies like those described above. Nurses can quickly and discreetly call for help if a patient or campus guest becomes violent.

Additionally, RTLS asset tracking allows staff to summon help, even if they can’t speak. Should the worst happen and assault occur, a badge holder needs only to press their tag. From that point, IT teams immediately plot the victim’s location and send in security without a verbal conversation which might not be possible due to the victim’s state or the intensity of the altercation.

3. Outdoor coverage

Emergencies aren’t confined to the walls of a hospital, and neither is RTLS tracking coverage.

Asset tracking provides monitoring across sprawling campuses. Tracking tags and panic button technology promote staff safety even in remote corners of a hospital’s parking lots. Many RTLS systems offer expansion coverage that enables monitoring of outdoor areas and other spaces that might not be within a hospital’s Wi-Fi network.

Campus-wide coverage allows IT teams to locate staff and respond to panic calls should an event occur outside the hospital’s walls. If a violent or aggressive individual comes on campus, staff who are aware of the situation can notify security and prevent a potentially catastrophic event. RTLS tracking tags allow security teams to find the reporter’s location quickly and easily and, as a result, deescalate the situation outside hospital walls.

4. Custom reports after the event

RTLS asset tracking can ensure staff safety during an emergency. But what it does after an event is just as crucial.

IT teams can analyze RTLS recordings and data to evaluate a team’s response during an emergency. The visual pathways and times are overlaid on maps for easy viewing. Analyzing what went well and what needs improvement empowers hospital systems to be better prepared in a future emergency.

In addition, IT can create custom reports based on RTLS data and advise hospital administrators on safety protocols moving forward. Asset tracking tags provide a minute-by-minute, highly accurate report of movement during an emergency. Having all the data compiled in one location helps inform best practice creation and can increase compliance within a hospital system.

Safety cannot be compromised

Safety is paramount. This is true in every industry, but especially in hospital settings. Ensuring staff safety should be a priority for every hospital. Utilizing RTLS asset tracking is a means to that end.

RTLS technology can provide immediate data regarding staff location and their safety status. Consider how asset tracking can change your hospital for the better: staff feels more secure because they know their hospital prioritizes their safety and takes steps to ensure it during emergency situations. This knowledge influences productivity, streamlines workflows, and improves morale.

Hospital environments are unpredictable. Many variables influence the day-to-day within a healthcare facility. But by implementing RTLS asset tracking, you can know your hospital is taking the necessary steps to promote staff safety during emergencies.

If you want to learn more about RTLS asset tracking and its benefits for your hospital, contact Altus to begin the conversation today.

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