Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted society. The epidemic has exacerbated employee fatigue, stretched the vulnerable healthcare labour market, and lowered the resources needed to provide patient care, despite the fact that the healthcare sector has remained robust. The turnover rate over the previous year was
increases by eight percent, bringing the national average for registered nurses to 27%. The average turnover cost for a registered nurse was $46,100 in 2021. The healthcare industry is still experiencing daily staffing and supply shortages, which are causing hospitals to reduce the number of patients they can safely and properly care for, which results in a sizable loss in overall revenue.
Healthcare facilities are dealing with an extraordinary rise in workplace violence as they attempt to solve these shortages. Even while there has always been an increasing worry about violence towards healthcare professionals, the epidemic has significantly increased the problem. In comparison to employees in any other industry, nurses are five times more likely to face violence, according to recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Joint Commission claims that minimizing workplace aggression and burnout can enhance patient care while lowering stress, job unhappiness, turnover, and expenses. A safe workplace must be the rule rather than the exception, according to healthcare leadership.
IoT technologies, such as Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), have the potential to reduce operational costs and improve safety. When healthcare professionals are under pressure to perform at the top of their license, advanced RTLS uses active-radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and IoT-enabled tags, badges, and sensors to provide insight reliably and securely on exactly where to locate the right equipment, colleague, or patient. This increases workflow efficiency.
Location-based services and IoT in Healthcare
RTLS’s beginnings in clinical treatment can be traced to the early 2000s. At the time, the systems were sensors at the network’s edge that sent back location estimates. Today, we can observe that the mission-critical use cases for RTLS devices and IoT technologies have greatly advanced at a truly amazing rate.
Now that real-time information about the precise location of assets, patients, and staff is available, healthcare facilities can use it to improve safety, automate workflow, and relieve the burden of manual documentation. This information can be incorporated into existing healthcare systems like nurse calls and electronic medical records. Robotic process and intelligent automation are advancing AI and machine learning (ML) by strengthening the data insights offered by RTLS, which in turn helps facilities better understand process optimization for improved productivity and patient care.
Instead of human mistake causing delays in the care pathway, automation ensures that crucial processes are executed promptly and properly. Automation technology means that internal procedures and administrative activities can be completed more quickly as it develops.
Staff Duress Alerts: Invest in Your Employees’ Safety
Numerous RTLS installations in the healthcare sector continue to be driven by labor shortages and rising workplace violence, which is a trend that will only become worse in 2022. According to a recent study, 48 percent of American registered nurses observed heightened tensions within healthcare institutions.
Workplace violence was reported by 69 percent of respondents, while staffing shortages were cited as getting worse.
With the click of a button, RTLS offers mobile duress solutions that better safeguard and assist employees by preventing violent threats from developing into dangerous situations. Healthcare professionals have quick access to discreetly signal for assistance thanks to the staff duress buttons that are directly on IoT-enabled staff wearables. The badge or other wearable, once activated, immediately sends the alarm with the staff member’s precise location to the appropriate computer workstation, monitor, and security dispatcher, as well as through email, text message, and/or VoIP phone message.
Increased emergency response times lower the amount of lost workdays, prevent employee injury, foster a safer atmosphere, and ease the burden on the healthcare system. Staff members frequently express their gratitude to their organization’s leadership for prioritising their safety and spending the money to instal an IoT duress system.
Systems for access control, mass notification, video management, and staff duress can all be integrated with staff duress solutions. Healthcare facilities that already use an automated nurse call system can easily add staff duress features to their systems. Consider RTLS duress solutions that enable clinical-grade locating for improved location capabilities (CGL).
The Win-Win of Asset Management
A third of nurses claim to spend an hour or more on average throughout a shift looking for patient care equipment. Real-time location services (RTLS) offer accurate lists of equipment, status, and position, as well as room and bay-level map displays. By deploying RTLS, medical staff can quickly find vital equipment using IoT-enabled tags, saving time, lowering stress levels, and ensuring patients receive care when they need it.
A centralized interface for mobile devices is offered by more sophisticated IoT-enabled location services to manage requests and find mobile medical equipment. The ability to swiftly locate equipment or make and track requests from wherever on the floor is much appreciated by the staff. Assignments pertaining to Periodic Automatic Replenishment (PAR)-level inventory management can be automated through a central gateway. In order to identify wasteful workflows or inventory consumption, supply chain managers and administrators can use the system’s backend to monitor PAR levels in real time. This is especially useful when there is a supply scarcity.
Automation of Workflow Benefits Both Staff and Patients
Healthcare management will discover that investing in nurses makes sense for the facility’s bottom line because reducing nurses’ workloads is a crucial part of preventing burnout and fostering staff retention. When RTLS solutions are implemented correctly, they give healthcare organizations the ability to analyze data to find opportunities for improvement, such as reducing patient wait times, anticipating peak patient times, increasing hand hygiene compliance, and automating workflows like biomedical reprocessing and nurse call response.
Healthcare professionals need access to platforms that automate workflow to reduce the burden of manual documentation, which is frequently delayed or potentially inaccurate, and offer proactive communications to each other, patients, and family members, in order to provide the best patient care and workplace satisfaction. Workflow platforms that use RTLS data can monitor important patient flow parameters and guarantee that staff members are aware of where each patient is in the treatment process.
Advanced workflow platforms run in the background automatically and have a significant impact by eliminating non-value-added tasks, providing patients with proactive status updates and estimated wait times, family text messaging to automatically update loved ones, and staff views on display boards that give an easily readable layout of each patient’s location, the amount of time they’ve been at the facility, how long they’ve been waiting for a provider, and which staff member is currently on duty. This guarantees teams have real-time visibility to continuously measure interactions, clear bottlenecks, and think about the optimal staffing options. The seamless and high-efficiency operation of any complex healthcare environment depends on real-time patient information and clear staff communications.
Healthcare Benefits of IoT Technology
RTLS has advanced tremendously over the past ten years as AI and ML have grown and established themselves in the healthcare industry. Within organisations that use and maximise their RTLS projects, we are witnessing considerable evidence of gains on both the clinical and operational sides. The sector will experience further increases in predictive data, automated administrative requirements, and cost savings as RTLS becomes more entrenched.
Facilities can reallocate care time, shorten response times, and save a significant amount of money by minimising handwritten documentation in the upcoming year. Clinicians will be able to focus more on becoming clinicians by automating non-value-added chores. In 2023, this ongoing development will benefit patients, their families, medical professionals, and facility management.