Two mature smiling doctors having discussion about patient diagnosis, holding digital tablet. Representative pharmaceutical discussing case after positive result with happy doctor about new medicine.

Is “Where’s My Stuff?” the Right Question to Ask Your RTLS?

At a very basic level, there’s nothing wrong with asking your real-time location system (RTLS), “Where’s my stuff?”.

After all, if your hospital’s mobile equipment was always where it was supposed to be, you wouldn’t need an asset tracker. But although that function may make your nurses and Biomed staff feel more comfortable when delivering patient care, it’s hard to assign a hard-dollar ROI to “feelings.”

If your organization truly wants to derive a significant financial ROI from its RTLS, you need a system that can do more than asset tracking – and you need to ask a better question:

“How can I change my operations to ensure I always have the right amount of equipment exactly where it needs to be?”

Or, more succinctly: “How’s my process?”

By moving to this question, you’re asking your RTLS to help you automate workflows and produce data that lets you make informed decisions about the size of your mobile equipment fleet and achieve hard-dollar savings.

To answer, “How’s my process?” and to successfully achieve financial ROI, you need an RTLS that delivers high accuracy and confidence.

What to know about accuracy

We discussed the concepts of accuracy and confidence in this blog post, where we used the analogy of a dartboard. Accuracy refers to whether you’re capable of hitting the bulls-eye – can your RTLS locate your mobile equipment within an acceptable margin of error?

RTLS Value Chain Graphic

Accuracy makes it possible to achieve the goals at the bottom of the value chain pictured above: determining physical and logical location, but the none of decisions you make based on what an RTLS can provide at these levels can result in a tangible financial ROI.

To move past the value threshold noted and derive data that can drive those upper-level tactical and strategic decisions, you need not only accuracy but also confidence.

With accuracy confidence, you can move higher on the value chain. You can make inferences about your equipment to optimize workflows, use guidance to know when to take action, use, trends to start planning ahead and finally, strategic decision-making gives you the power and confidence to plan effectively for the future.

What to know about confidence

Returning to the dartboard analogy, confidence refers to how many times you can hit the bullseye out of 100—if your RTLS can accurately locate your equipment 99 times out of 100, you’re in good shape. But what if it can do that just 60 times out of 100? That’s low confidence. When you have low confidence in your RTLS’ accuracy, you cannot take advantage of higher-value benefits, like automating PAR alerts for your clean and soiled equipment rooms. And, with low confidence, you can’t make the kind of evidence-based purchasing decisions that provide substantial financial savings for a hospital.

The video above illustrates the impact an RTLS can make when it offers high accuracy and high confidence.

Let’s say the graph on the “How’s My Process?” slide pictures data about your hospital’s IV pump fleet. The red arrow on the Y axis refers to the number of IV pumps you had when you installed your RTLS. The “max level” line shows the total number of IV pumps you have now – a significant reduction from the original number you owned when you installed the RTLS. The thin blue line that goes up and down between the replenish level and max level shows your fleet’s usage (or utilization) rate over time and the time that elapses between storage room replenishments.

Note that, even with fewer IV pumps on hand, your hospital’s demand for IV pumps remains comfortably within its inventory thanks to the PAR automation you’ve set up. And if you’ve sold a portion of your inventory – or simply not repurchased items that have been lost or broken over the past year – you’ve achieved a hard-dollar return for your hospital.

Final thoughts

Very few hospital RTLS solutions on the market today can provide the enterprise-wide, high-confidence, and room-level accuracy necessary to derive this level of insight. Cognosos RTLS can—with the bonus of lower up-front costs and a less disruptive installation process than any other solution on the market.

To learn more about how Cognosos can help your hospital move from “Where’s my stuff?” to “How’s my process?” contact us today.

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