Today, automation has become an essential part of healthcare management. The ability to coordinate around the patient without the need for manual actions is a revolution in improving efficiency in the sector.
In recent years we have seen a boom in orchestration applications in the healthcare sector, but it is only in combination with real-time location technology (RTLS) that we have seen real process automation that truly eliminates manual actions.
The importance of location for real and efficient automation of the healthcare process
In a high-value environment like healthcare, every minute counts. One of the main benefits of RTLS in healthcare is the ability to orchestrate processes around the patient, automating tasks such as room allocation, scheduling of tests and procedures, and coordination between different departments and medical professionals.
In addition, having real-time patient location not only impacts tasks, but automation goes much further. The use of RTLS keeps all medical and administrative staff informed at all times of what is happening in the hospital environment. This real-time, up-to-date information capability is essential for efficient management and more accurate decision-making. RTLS automates the collection and updating of data related to patient location and status, streamlining coordination and eliminating the need for manual tracking or additional communications to obtain up-to-date patient location information. In this way, RTLS not only automates tasks but also automates information management, improving efficiency and quality of care.
Manual vs. automated process
By knowing the exact location of the patient at all times, RTLS eliminates the need for manual entry, reducing administrative workload and reducing errors associated with manual data entry. Information is automatically recorded as patients move through the hospital, ensuring data accuracy and freeing medical staff to focus on direct patient care.
In addition, RTLS improves accuracy and consistency in the performance of tasks. Automated systems follow a pre-defined set of rules and processes, reducing the likelihood of human error. Furthermore, by providing real-time information on the status and progress of tasks, RTLS facilitates the identification of bottlenecks and areas for improvement in task management.
Data consultation also benefits greatly from RTLS. The real-time location of the patient allows quick and accurate access to their medical history, tests performed, medications prescribed, and any other information relevant to their care. This eliminates the need to physically search for files or wait for records to be updated, streamlining processes and ensuring care based on up-to-date and complete information.
In short, the availability of real-time patient location through RTLS goes beyond task automation. It allows all staff to be kept informed about events in the hospital environment, streamlining decision-making, optimizing resource allocation, and improving patient care. Data queries, requests, last-minute changes, and delays are efficiently managed thanks to the up-to-date and accurate information provided by RTLS.
Implementing RTLS for efficient automation of healthcare processes
Extensive experience is crucial to effectively integrate all these systems in the healthcare environment. MYSPHERA has spent the last decade developing our process automation platform and real-time location system (RTLS) exclusively for the healthcare sector. Precisely because of this, we are aware that effective implementation is only possible through careful planning and proper execution in collaboration with all the people involved in the process.
Some of the key steps to achieve this are:
🔹 Define objectives and requirements: Before implementing RTLS, it is important to be clear about the specific objectives and requirements of the healthcare workforce: What problems are RTLS expected to solve? What functionalities are needed? Setting clear objectives will help guide the implementation and ensure that the desired results are achieved.
🔹Evaluate the existing infrastructure and deploy the necessary technology: RTLS requires a robust infrastructure to function properly. It is crucial to identify any gaps or problems in the existing infrastructure and address them before implementing RTLS.
🔹 Validation: Thoroughly test and validate the performance of the solution to ensure the defined workflows and expected results.
🔹 Train staff: Adequate staff training is essential to ensure the successful adoption of RTLS. Provide comprehensive training on how to use the technology and how to make the most of its capabilities.
Overcoming challenges in adopting RTLS for automation
At MYSPHERA, we know that adopting RTLS for task automation can present some challenges. Here are some common challenges and how to overcome them:
▪ Interoperability: Integrating RTLS with other information systems, such as hospital information systems, can be a challenge. It is important to work closely with IT vendors and implementation teams to ensure proper integration. This may involve customizing RTLS solutions to suit the organization’s specific needs and requirements.
▪ Cultural change: Adopting new technologies such as RTLS requires a cultural change in the organization. It is important to involve employees from the beginning and clearly communicate the benefits and importance of adopting RTLS. This may include conducting training sessions and demonstrations to show how RTLS can improve efficiency and quality of care. It is also critical to provide ongoing support and be open to receiving feedback and suggestions from employees to facilitate the transition.
▪ Data privacy and security: The use of RTLS involves the collection and tracking of data on patients, medical staff, and assets. Ensuring the privacy and security of this data is critical. This involves implementing robust security measures, such as data encryption and restricted access to information. It is also important to comply with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
Best practices for a successful implementation of RTLS in healthcare
Our experience in more than 50 hospitals has allowed us to evaluate each implementation in each hospital and define a decalogue of best practices to follow:
▶ Involve stakeholders: Involve all stakeholders, including medical staff, administrators, and IT providers, from the beginning. Getting their involvement and feedback throughout the implementation process will ensure successful adoption and wider acceptance.
▶ Careful planning: Careful planning for RTLS implementation is crucial. Establish a clear timeline, allocate adequate resources, and define clear roles and responsibilities. Proper planning will help avoid delays and ensure a smooth implementation.
▶ Evaluate and optimize continuously: Once RTLS is implemented, it is important to continuously evaluate and optimize its performance. Conduct data analysis and collect feedback from medical staff and patients. Use this knowledge to make adjustments and improvements to the system.
In short, RTLS is here to stay in healthcare. At MYSPHERA we were able to see its full potential and bet on this technology that brings so much value to healthcare. A value that we have been able to demonstrate in reference centers such as the Vall d’Hebrón Hospital (Barcelona), whose results after the implementation of the ORvital solution, focused on the surgical block, are very encouraging.