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Asset Tracking Speeds Up Search for Equipment in Hospital

  Real-Time Asset Tracking Speeds Hospital's Search For Mobile Devices

For Carolinas Healthcare, Ekahau's Wi-Fi-based RTLS is a Basic Business Requirement for Effectively Managing Assets

Knowing the whereabouts of sensitive equipment is a necessity in the healthcare industry because devices are constantly in need of maintenance, cleaning and recalibration to assure that patients are well served. Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS), for example, may need to locate any one of its more than 3,000 pumps and other mobile devices on any given day. However, their team, which used to spend a lot of time looking in closets and hallways to find their mobile assets, has gained some high-tech assistance. In a matter of seconds, the Ekahau Real Time Location System (RTLS) can identify the precise location of all tagged pieces of equipment. It can even locate items that are behind locked doors or inside another facility 20 miles away.

Large System Gains Control with Versatile Wi-Fi Technology

With 25 locations—from small community hospitals to large integrated educational facilities—serving 5,000 licensed beds, Charlotte, N.C.-based CHS is the largest non-profit system serving North and South Carolina and the third largest in the nation. Having operations spread across two states presented challenges to ensuring that many of the expensive mobile devices could be found when needed and kept in stock in the appropriate areas. Devices often stay with patients in transit between facilities, adding to the difficulty of tracking.

The Search for a Loss Prevention Solution began exploring various location tracking solutions, focusing primarily on RFID technology that could leverage their widely available Wi-Fi networks that being used for other applications, such as VoIP telephony and mobile computing. After a competitive evaluation, CHS selected Ekahau RTLS. "While others were unclear about their strategic direction for the future, Ekahau had a visionary perspective of what the location tracking market was going to be. They had a clear concept of who they are and where they were going with their technology," said Clay Fisher, CHS's senior director of Information Services. "One of the primary reasons we chose Ekahau was for its accuracy, as well as its ease of deployment." Unlike other solutions on the market that require deployment of proprietary networks and additional hardware, Ekahau RTLS works over an enterprise-grade, 802.11 standards-based Wi-Fi network. As a pure-play software solution, Ekahau RTLS can enable full visibility of mobile assets or individuals across geographically dispersed campuses from a central location.

"We really aren't interested in measuring this location technology in terms of return on investment. ROI means you are trying to justify your expenditure," said Fisher. "We view our RTLS system as a basic business requirement that is needed to effectively manage our organization's equipment. When you have facilities that are integrated, and larger than 500,000 square feet, you have many challenges doing that in an effective manner."

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