empty hospital beds in room with medical equipment

Managing Equipment Workflows: 5 Core Functions of a Hospital RTLS Administrator

A hospital’s real-time location system (RTLS) administrator has a vital job. They are responsible for making sure that the hospital’s massive fleet of mobile equipment is moving efficiently through its workflow: from a stored and ready state, to in use with patients, to cleaning, and back again. 

They’re also in charge of ensuring that equipment adheres to its mandatory maintenance routines – and that the hospital has enough inventory to keep operating while some equipment is being repaired. If any of these processes fail and equipment isn’t managed properly, that can cause a variety of downstream problems, including wasted resources, overstressed staff, and poor patient outcomes. 

Although an RTLS is a powerful tool, how the RTLS administrator uses and applies that tool is the most important factor in providing maximum value for a hospital. Here are just a few examples of the many responsibilities an RTLS administrator handles daily: 

5 core functions of an RTLS administrator in healthcare: 

1. Managing preventive and emergency equipment maintenance: RTLS administrators play a significant role in the health of a hospital’s mobile fleet. All hospital equipment is required to undergo preventive maintenance at least once per year. And frequently, manufacturers will issue recalls or emergency software updates for particular classes of equipment to keep them working properly.

In both cases, an RTLS administrator can help the hospital determine how many pieces of equipment it can afford to have off the floor at any given time while maintaining regular patient care levels. They can also pinpoint the location of any piece of equipment for quick pickup, keeping staff from hunting for needles in the hospital haystack.

2. Maintaining the RTLS itself: Your RTLS helps ensure that your hospital’s equipment is available and in good working order — and as an RTLS administrator, your job is to ensure your RTLS is in good working order. This includes tasks like checking the batteries and power sources for all RTLS components, ordering new parts when needed, facilitating firmware updates from your RTLS vendor, and troubleshooting any hardware, software, or network issues that arise. 

3. Ensuring your RTLS is up to date with your hospital’s layout: Hospitals are constantly renovating and expanding. It’s important that your RTLS adjusts to recognize new wings and floor plans. The RTLS administrator is the connective tissue ensuring that RTLS infrastructure is installed, and new areas are connected to the system as soon as possible.

4. Informing hospital purchasing decisions: An RTLS administrator provides important counsel to hospital purchasing departments. For example, they may use RTLS data to show a particular kind of equipment is at high risk for theft and recommend purchasing additional items to maintain inventory levels. In another example, they may provide data that show the hospital is underutilizing a certain class of equipment and recommend a workflow change instead of purchasing additional items. 

5. Educating hospital staff on the RTLS: It’s critical that all staff involved in the mobile equipment workflow understand how the RTLS works and why it’s important to keeping equipment cycling smoothly. Every day, an RTLS administrator is answering questions and providing guidance to managers and front-line staff, reinforcing the system’s value to their everyday work experience.  

Hospital RTLS administrators have a lot on their plate and carry responsibility for providing patients and staff with the equipment they need. Having a reliable, easy-to-use RTLS that can provide room-level accuracy with a high level of confidence is one way to make administrators’ work easier and more effective. 

The Cognosos RTLS offers all these benefits with lower up-front costs and less disruption than other systems on the market. To learn more about what it’s like to operate the Cognosos RTLS, schedule a demo. 

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