Nurse in scrubs standing in hospital room using smart tablet

How an AI-powered RTLS can help your hospital lower its technical debt

Technology, as the cliché goes, is a double-edged sword for hospitals. It has tremendous potential to make hospitals more efficient and enhance safety and satisfaction for both patients and providers. But it has just as limitless an ability to cause headaches for all parties involved. 

In their outlook on the most challenging factors facing health care in 2022, Think Consulting listed “technical debt” as a prime concern. “Many hospitals are still struggling with technical debt, the cost of additional rework caused by implementing an easy, but limited solution instead of implementing a better approach,” the report stated. 

Real-time location systems (RTLS)—particularly those powered by legacy technologies like infrared and ultrasound—are a frequent source of technical debt for hospitals. But Cognosos’ RTLS is exactly the opposite, thanks to LocationAI, the brain that powers the whole product.

RTLS that adjusts to the changes in your hospital 

LocationAI allows Cognosos’ RTLS to achieve industry-leading accuracy without disturbing clinical workflows with complex installation processes or the need to place hardware in patient rooms—both of which are common for legacy RTLS technologies. By leveraging artificial intelligence via powerful machine-learning algorithms, LocationAI can classify which room, hallway, or other areas your mobile equipment is located in at any given time. 

Yes, other RTLS technologies can accomplish that part of the mission—but they run into problems when hospitals change their footprint. And let’s be honest: Hospitals are always changing their footprint. 

Because LocationAI is constantly processing new information from the tags it tracks around your hospital, its algorithm automatically adjusts to changes in the hospital environment based on that information. If you put up a wall to make two rooms out of one, LocationAI figures it out. If you take down five walls to create a new corridor, LocationAI figures that out, too. 

There’s no need to have Cognosos return to re-survey, re-analyze, or re-install equipment to adjust to renovations in your hospital’s existing footprint because the RTLS updates itself. And when your hospital expands (let’s be honest again: Hospitals are always expanding), Cognosos’ lightweight installation means adding to your existing RTLS network won’t require a ton of new infrastructure. We’ll return to install a few new beacons in the hallways and internet-enabled gateways in your IT closets and LocationAI will do the rest. 

The same can’t be said for infrared, ultrasound, and even other Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) RTLS solutions. Their systems do not automatically adjust to changes in your hospital’s footprint, and this is precisely how an RTLS becomes a major source of technical debt. 

To restore the room-level accuracy you need to derive value from your RTLS, you’ll need to invest—again—in a lot of expensive equipment. You’ll need to plan—again—for a potentially long and costly installation process. In many cases, the cost of re-installing an RTLS can exceed the original installation cost of the system. (And that’s not even considering the strain it’ll cause on your already overtaxed IT department.)

Final thoughts 

Technical debt is indeed a thorny challenge for hospitals, but an RTLS doesn’t have to be part of that equation. 

To learn more about how Cognosos’ LocationAI technology can help ease your hospital’s technical debt burden, download our whitepaper, High Quality Data from Low-Cost Sensors: How LocationAI is Transforming the Value Proposition for RTLS Solutions. 

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