Bendigo Health is jumping on the e-health bandwagon, announcing a $100,000 upgrade of its health systems, in an effort to automate hospital practices, increase operational efficiency and patient safety levels.
The hospital, located in Victoria, has deployed a number of systems from AeroScout, including the Real Time Location System (RTLS), patient and temperature monitoring system, and staff safety technology.
The hospital’s information and communications technology manager, Phil Coppin, told Computerworld Australia, the new systems help the facility provide better clinical care, meet regulatory compliance around medications and pathology and improve staff safety to comply with occupational health and safety legislation.
“The RTLS solution in theatre provides the theatre staff with accurate and up-to-date patient and theatre data on which they can make critical decisions around utilisation of resources and to understand how to streamline patient flows,” Coppin said.
Bendigo has also deployed AeroScout’s temperature monitoring technology to automate the tracking of temperatures of the refrigerators and freezers throughout the hospital, that are used to store critical items, including medication and blood.
Investing in this system, says Coppin, will enable temperatures to be logged at regular intervals to ensure that they are within acceptable ranges to prevent spoilage, and also save staff from having to manually monitor and record temperatures.
In addition to monitoring medication temperatures, the hospital will also be able to track orthopaedic patients through their surgical processes with AeroScout’s patient flow solution. Being able to pinpoint the location and status of patients will improve patient care and general workflow.
Upon arrival, orthopaedic patients receive a Wi-Fi tag that provides staff visibility into a patient’s location and movement, to ensure that scheduled procedures start on time and that patients are receiving proper care.
“Bendigo Health had made a significant investment in over 300 Cisco Wi-Fi access points across our acute campus,” Copping said. “We were looking for a way to leverage that investment and using wireless access points we can now locate and track items with AeroScout tags and software, without adding additional network hardware.”
“This solution enabled a low-cost, highly reliable location-based application without the need for an intrusive separate network.”
According to Coppin, the Wi-Fi RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags and software are fully integrated with the standard wireless networking equipment of the hospital’s wireless provider.
“The access points act like RFID readers, picking up transmissions from AeroScout tags and other Wi-Fi devices, without interrupting their normal operations,” Coppin said.
In addition, the hospital is in process of implementing the provider’s Staff Safety solution, to reduce potential risks posed by patients, including psychiatric, trauma and elderly patients. The technology will enable users to notify other staff about problems that require immediate assistance. Staff members will carry Wi-Fi tags with call buttons, which can be triggered to alert colleagues of an emergency situation.
A major factor in the decision to go with AeroScout, Coppin says, was the local partner support.
“When you are located in a regional centre such as Bendigo, and operate a 24/7 hospital, local support is critical.”