How an RTLS Can Help Your Hospital Satisfy the Four Rs of Asset Management
When a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional is tending to a patient, the “Four Rs” are critical:
The Right equipment needs to be
in the Right state
in the Right location
at the Right time.
In other words:
The necessary equipment is clean and operational,
in a place where staff know to find it,
exactly when they need to use it.
When the Four Rs are satisfied, staff feel confident and capable of delivering excellent patient care. But when the Four Rs aren’t met, staff will feel frustrated—and patient safety may be compromised.
Addressing the roots of medical equipment hoarding
Failing to attend to the Four Rs can lead to medical equipment hoarding: the practice of removing mobile equipment from the normal workflow of a hospital’s fleet. This happens when nurses and other medical personnel are not confident the proper equipment will be available when needed, so they hide it in a place they only know.
Medical equipment hoarding causes several knock-on problems. First, hoarding is self-perpetuating. When pieces of medical equipment are taken out of circulation, staff have a smaller pool to draw from, which can lead to more hoarding. Second, hoarding causes a hospital’s efficiency metrics to drop, which can prompt hospital administrators to waste money on equipment they don’t need. Finally, hoarding can present a safety hazard. Hoarded equipment will not undergo routine or emergency maintenance required by its manufacturer. It also won’t go through the hospital’s rigorous cleaning process. Both circumstances increase the risk of injury or infection in future patients treated with out-of-date or soiled equipment.
Facilitating the contact tracing of contaminated medical equipment
When the Four Rs aren’t satisfied, it can be difficult to perform contact tracing of contaminated equipment. When a patient contracts a highly transmissible infection like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) during their hospital visit, any equipment they may have touched must be deep cleaned. Sometimes, tracking down exactly which equipment was used on which patient can be a major challenge.
For example, when a patient is brought into an emergency department with an issue, there can be a lot of equipment used on or around them. Hospitals often don’t know immediately whether a patient has a highly transmissible infection. Test results may not come in for several hours or even days after the patient passes through. Putting together the puzzle of what equipment was used on an infected patient is nearly impossible without some kind of tracking system. Yet these holes in the contact tracing process can have damaging consequences if the equipment in question is not properly cleaned before serving another patient.
How a hospital asset tracking solution can solve the Four Rs
A room-level real-time location system (RTLS) like Cognosos can help ensure that your hospital satisfies the Four Rs daily.
Cognosos’ ProPAR product can automate your hospital’s equipment replenishment process by establishing minimum thresholds for storage areas and sending alerts to staff when those thresholds are reached. Your clean storage rooms stay fully stocked, your soiled storage rooms are routinely serviced—and your staff will have no reason to hoard equipment anymore.
Thanks to its machine learning-powered LocationAI engine, Cognosos isn’t just highly accurate—it’s highly accurate with high confidence. That means your hospital will have the power to know exactly where and when your equipment was used—information that can be cross-referenced with patient data in the event a highly transmissible infection is detected.
To learn more about how Cognosos can help your hospital satisfy the Four Rs—helping to reduce staff stress and promote patient safety in the process—contact us for a demo today.