Categories
Asset Management Healthcare

4 Ways Hospitals omniQ’s enefit from Asset Tracking Software

Hospitals manage millions of dollars worth of medical equipment, supplies, and other assets, and all of them play a critical role in delivering timely and effective care. Without an organized way to track and manage these items, there can be costly and dangerous delays in care. Staff waste time searching the floor for equipment; equipment may be hoarded in a department to avoid these searches; and hospitals wind up spending money unnecessarily to replace lost assets or to ensure availability of those assets.

Asset tracking software, coupled with automatic identification technology, can eliminate these problems.

Asset tracking solutions may use barcode labels, but hospitals are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi-based real-time location systems (RTLS) to wirelessly track equipment using the existing wireless network infrastructure. In some instances, these systems may incorporate traditional RFID tags, but RTLS has allowed these facilities to create a closed-loop asset tracking solution without investing in additional infrastructure.

In either case, a robust asset tracking software package provides a way to accumulate and analyze the asset data. In addition to locating equipment, these solutions can provide a way to automate lifecycle management and maintenance, track repair histories or sterilization history, and automatically re-allocate assets by floor or department. Asset tracking software provides these benefits without the human error associated with manually keeping records by hand or in a spreadsheet.

Here are four key benefits of using asset tracking software in a hospital:

1. Improve Asset Utilization: With real-time information on equipment location, it is easy for hospitals to eliminate equipment hoarding (which takes place when staff members hide equipment in order to make sure no one else takes it), theft, and loss. It is easier to find necessary equipment when it is needed, and hospitals can avoid unnecessary over purchasing of assets as a result. With a better view of where equipment is located and who is using it, hospitals can adjust inventories, reallocate some assets, and ensure that every department has the equipment it needs, when clinicians need it.

2. Improve Staff Productivity: When nurses have to search for equipment, they waste time wandering the hallways that could otherwise be spent charting or caring for patients. When staff members can find what they need immediately, they can eliminate hours per week or month in pointless searches while improving the quality of care.

3. Automate Equipment Audits: By using an asset tracking solution to monitor equipment status, maintenance, and sterilization, hospitals can create an instant record of quality, safety, and sanitation procedures. These can then be quickly accessed in the case of an audit, or to confirm procedural compliance. That level of visibility and historical perspective is impossible without real-time asset tracking.

4. Improved Equipment Performance: The lifecycle management enabled by asset tracking makes it easier to ensure that each piece of equipment is inspected and serviced at the right intervals without time-consuming manual record keeping. Asset tracking software makes it easy to monitor the status of each piece of equipment and know when its time to service or replace it. By generating overview reports on broad classes of assets, hospitals can better plan their capital expenditures based on real data rather than guesswork.

Moreover, asset tracking software improves the work environment for employees, and makes it easier for staff to provide fast, quality care to patients.

Categories
Healthcare Mobility

The Benefits of Using Mobile Devices in Healthcare

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have been tasked with increased documentation activities required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and other regulations. At the same time, many facilities face staffing shortages and budget cuts, while still being expected to improve the quality of care.

Using mobile devices in healthcare applications can relieve the burden of manually collecting, verifying, and entering data into an electronic medical record (EMR), while at the same time improving caregiver communication and the quality of care.

Using mobile devices, doctors and nurses can scan barcoded patient wristbands, charts, and medications in order to ensure accurate medication administration and treatment. Mobile devices can also be used to manage pharmacy inventory, for asset management, and for other types of materials and inventory tracking throughout the hospital.

While mobile devices in healthcare are often rugged, moisture-resistant devices that were purpose-built for these applications, there are also other options that incorporate popular consumer devices. Healthcare providers can also integrate popular mobile devices like the Apple iPhone into these solutions using custom applications and specially designed sleds. For example, Honeywell’s Captuvo SL42h sled for the iPhone and Captuvo SL22h for the iPod touch provide an integrated barcode scanner and disinfectant-ready protective housing and sealed screen protector that can turn a phone into a clinical computing device. By outfitting a commonly used phone with a robust barcode scanner and hot swappable external battery pack, healthcare organizations get the advantages of an easy-to-use interface, along with the performance of a purpose-built mobile computing device.

Mobile devices in the healthcare setting can also be used for the direct management of patient care. Nurses and doctors must frequently pause during care activities to enter data into stationary computers in order to update the electronic medical record (EMR) or enter notes into a paper chart. There are now applications available that allow clinicians to update charts on the go using mobile phones, hand-held computers, or tablets. Nurses can consult the plan of care without leaving the bedside and returning to the nursing station.

Communication among clinicians can also be improved. Using converged mobile devices like smartphones can help hospitals replace the disparate collection of pagers, VOIP phones, barcode scanners and other devices that doctors and nurses carry. Instead, they can access the EMR, patient alerts, and secure text and voice messages on a single platform. Doing so also reduces IT cost and complexity for the facility.

In addition, clinicians can access mobile apps for electronic prescribing, diagnosis and treatment, practice management, coding and billing, and other activities. This reduces the administrative burden for physicians and improves efficiency. Doctors can see more patients each day, and clinicians can potentially avoid dangerous medical errors because the information they need is right in their hands.

With mobile technology, healthcare professionals are equipped to be well-coordinated care teams. Mobility can provide immediate improvements in efficiency and patient care. These solutions also improve the way doctors, nurses and other end users utilize the electronic medical record and interact with each other and patients.

Categories
Healthcare Mobility

Can iPads Improve the Efficiency of Healthcare Specimen Tracking?

The healthcare industry relies on accuracy—without it, patients are left with less than optimal care. But the environment of hospitals and laboratories can make that difficult, especially when dealing with healthcare specimen tracking.

The traditional method for specimen tracking often involves manually entering data. They pick up a specimen and handwrite the tracking information on the form. This tracking information is key-entered into their laptop, which then prints another form to travel with the specimen. These tracking sheets are easily damaged and the handwritten information could be hard to read, making manually entering it even more difficult.

Adding technology to the process of healthcare specimen tracking can reduce the amount of tracking errors and improving efficiency in the process of getting important lab results back to patients. The iPad is an example of newer mobile technology that has become ubiquitous throughout many industries, and that can often include the healthcare industry. If employees within your organization utilize iPads, the only way to completely take full advantage of them is to give them printing capabilities. Combining iPads with mobile printers like the Zebra QL320 creates a robust specimen tracking system that offers a mobile, accurate and efficient solution.

Mobility

iPads allow physicians, technicians, and nurses to take them right to the patient’s bedside. Rather than hand writing the tracking information on the form, hospital staff can utilize the tablet and mobile printer combination to scan the patient’s information, enter the appropriate additional specimen information into their iPad, and print a barcode label without ever leaving the patient’s room.

Accuracy

Accurate healthcare specimen tracking is a necessity. Some specimens are irreplaceable—the loss of them would result in catastrophe for trying to diagnose the patient, exposing the patient to danger and the hospital to lawsuits. This can be prevented with accurate healthcare specimen tracking using iPads and mobile printers. Attaching a label to a specimen immediately after it has been taken prevents it from being lost or mislabeled.

Barcode printers like the Zebra QL320 can also print custom labels that are color coded based on the hospital or lab’s system. This allows staff to quickly recognize the type of specimen or its priority level.

In a lab or hospital setting, it’s important to have labels that can withstand being exposed to spills. Zebra products are durable, so even if they’re exposed to moisture or the specimen spills, the lab technicians will still be able to scan the specimen and ensure testing is completed accurately and returned to the proper patient.

Efficiency

Efficiency in healthcare specimen tracking can be difficult to achieve, but the ability to track specimens throughout the process will help ensure that the item has reached the lab, been processed, and returned in an appropriate time period. Knowing where a specimen is in the process can help hospital staff spot problems and inefficiencies in the specimen testing process.

Staff won’t waste time trying to read handwritten tracking sheets and they will waste less time retesting or retaking specimens that have been misplaced or mislabeled. This streamlines the entire patient diagnosis process, and leaves patients feeling confident and comfortable with their hospital.

Implementing a mobile solution like iPads and mobile printers like those from Zebra can provide a more streamlined healthcare specimen tracking process. Samples can be easily identified, tracked, and returned to the right patient, quickly and easily. Not only will your hospital be running more smoothly, but your patients will also be guaranteed peace of mind.