A NursingTimes.net survey polled 1000 nurses and found that at least one in three spent an hour or more per shift searching for medical equipment to use with their patients. This totals about 6000 hours wasted a month just searching for missing equipment. These findings suggest that nurses could be spending the equivalent of 40 hours per month searching for equipment and in 16% of cases, respondents said that they had given up the search after failing to find a piece of equipment. (1) MGM Solutions has developed reliable methods for tracking equipment that protect the financial investment of the institution as well as creating more staff efficiency. (2)
Michael Maurer, CEO of MGM Solutions states, “We have developed a patented triangulation system that integrates a blend of radio frequency, diffused infrared, and low frequency radio frequency (RF) to accurately track patients, staff and equipment in real-time within medical facilities and across large hospital campuses. These methods overcome some of the difficulties found in earlier tracking systems as they don’t rely on just one method of tracking but three.”
A 2012 GE Healthcare study found that the number of medical assets per hospital bed had increased from 8 to 13 in recent years. The vital necessity of finding equipment fast could be lifesaving. In fact, when there are greater numbers of healthcare devices, this often means more difficulty in finding the needed device. That could lead to underutilization of critical equipment. That study found that many hospitals did report equipment utilization rates of lower than 50%, which is well below the industry accepted use rate of 70 – 80%. (3)
What’s more, while hospitals know devices are underutilized, they continue to over purchase equipment in the hope that workers can find what they need nearby when they need it. All of these issues combine to cause some compelling statistics. For instance, the number of devices per bed has led to an increase in the cost per hospital bed by as much as 90% in recent years. (4)
According to a Fierce Health IT study from 2012, 10-15% of hospitals use real-time tracking of their equipment, with a resultant 11% reduction in time spent searching for devices. As more and more medical facilities adopt some type of indoor locating systems, time lost in searching for equipment and even staff will drop significantly, freeing up time for what really matters; providing the best possible care to patients. (4)
Various technologies have been tried to effectively and reliably track hospital assets. These systems range from bar coding and radio frequency tags (RFID) to Bluetooth signals and other types of electronic tags.
MGM’s technology, utilizing radio frequency, diffused infrared, and low frequency radio frequency (RF) accurately tracks patients, staff and equipment in real-time and even provides an emergency button for staff to use if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Maurer added, “With the huge investment in equipment and the spiraling costs of healthcare, it is necessary to have an efficient and secure system to locate medical equipment and staff. MGM’s SecurTRAK is a family of Real-time Locating System(RTLS) products that use Active RFID technology to track people and assets in real time across whole campuses — indoors and outdoors.”
1 February, 2009 10. “Nurses Waste 'an Hour a Shift' Finding Equipment.” Nursing Times.
2 SecurTRAK | MGM Solutions, www.mgm-solutions.com
3 Ruslan Horblyuk, Kristopher Kaneta, Gary L. McMillen, Christopher Mullins, Thomas M. O’Brien, Ankita Roy. “Out of Control: How clinical asset proliferation and low utilization are draining healthcare budgets.” gehealthcare.com.pdf
4 “Finding People, Places & Things in Healthcare Facilities.” Finding People, Places & Things in Healthcare Facilities. mobilehealthtimes.