Choosing an asset tracking provider requires significant research, investment, and testing. While this can feel like an overwhelming task, it doesn’t have to be. Taking the correct steps before beginning the search for the right RTLS healthcare vendor can transform the process from stressful to exciting as you find the right partner for your facility.
Being prepared with all the knowledge needed before searching for an RTLS vendor empowers you to make the right decision in an asset tracking partner the first time. Read on to learn what to look for when picking an RTLS healthcare vendor.
Understanding Your Asset Tracking Needs
Before researching potential RTLS healthcare vendors, the first step is to understand your hospital’s asset tracking needs. Defining the RTLS requirements allows you to evaluate the companies more efficiently without wasting time exploring RTLS options that aren’t the right fit.
The three primary needs that should be defined prior to beginning the search include budget, usage, and scale.
How much is your team allowed to allocate for RTLS asset tracking? Determining the budget can help decide how many assets get tracked, and provide an idea of scalability options as your facility grows, or if the adoption process needs to be implemented in phases.
Knowing how your facility plans to use the asset tracking system helps determine if certain vendors have the capabilities. Answering the following will help answer what RTLS healthcare vendors offer the asset tracking solution your facility needs: what is going to be tracked and why, what the goal of tracking is, and how you hope RTLS will help.
Check how many assets need to be tracked, how big the campus is, and to what level of specificity you wish to track your assets.
Answering these questions lays the foundation for picking the right RTLS healthcare vendor to meet your needs. Once you’ve established the answers to the above questions, you can ask the following questions of your potential vendor.
Determining their Industry
Just because a vendor delivers RTLS solutions doesn’t mean they’re the right vendor for you. When evaluating potential providers, determining which companies work within the healthcare industry can save time.
RTLS healthcare vendors tailor their asset tracking services to fit specifically in hospitals and care units. They are designed to track hospital equipment, including computer carts, and are easy to use so both IT and nurses can determine the location of needed equipment.
Determining if the vendor operates within your industry allows you to proceed with further evaluations or move on to a different company that provides the necessary solutions.
As you evaluate RTLS partners, one area to look at is the size of the tags. It’s not enough for an RTLS system to be able to track all your assets if the tag size is too big.
Having small, discreet tags allow hospitals to track patients, ensure staff safety, and fit on any equipment easily. The small tag size keeps them from getting caught in clothing, stolen, or from taking up too much space on the device it’s on.
RTLS technologies are continuously evolving. Consult with your vendor to determine if they have the tags and technology to deliver the solutions desired.
Installation and Integration Timelines
Timeliness is crucial within a healthcare setting. Depending on the motivation for implementing RTLS tracking technology, you might need the system in place as soon as possible. As you consider RTLS healthcare vendors, ask about timelines. An RTLS system takes time to install and integrate effectively, with some systems requiring weeks or months, while others are faster and simpler to implement.
A preexisting RTLS system can affect integration times. If the new vendor’s software is compatible with what you already have, installation times can be much shorter than starting from scratch. A faster path to installation allows you to utilize the new RTLS system and cuts down on the time and money spent teaching your team how to use it.
Are Their Services Scalable?
RTLS systems aren’t a one-and-done installation, especially in healthcare. As your facility’s needs grow, the chosen asset tracking system should continuously grow too. When considering RTLS vendors, ask if their services are scalable. If you expand operations to multiple campuses, how can the vendor scale their services to continue meeting all requirements?
Scalability is essential for growth, but it’s also crucial if your healthcare system or facility is new. Smaller facilities don’t need the same services as more extensive, established systems. Will your RTLS vendor scale services and bring pricing down to meet your needs?
Scalable asset tracking services help maintain consistency as you grow and preserve resources no matter the needs.
Customer Care and Support
Your needs don’t stop once the RTLS system is up and running. Even the most modern, effective asset tracking systems require maintenance and service. Ask the vendor what you can expect regarding support after the sale. Some of these questions include:
Is their team easy to contact?
Are service charges associated with troubleshooting, maintenance, and repair, or are those costs built into your contract?
Will you have a dedicated representative for your account?
When investing your resources into an asset tracking system, you should know exactly what to expect regarding long-term support.
Previous Successful Track Record
The final hallmark of a quality RTLS vendor is a proven track record. Does your potential vendor have a good reputation among their past and current client base? You can easily find reviews online or ask for testimonials if they aren’t listed on the company’s site.
Ratings and reviews are the most straightforward way to learn about a business. Honest feedback regarding customer experiences –– both good and bad –– will help you pick an RTLS healthcare vendor that’s right for you.