Veterans Administration Battles Tracking System Failures

January 19, 2018

Efforts of the Veterans Affairs office to keep track of medical equipment are at risk of “failure.” The revelation follows a VA contract awarded in 2012 to implement a real-time locating system (RTLS) to the tune of $543 million.

But problems abounded from the start: failures in operational tests, questions about reliability of inventory tags, and basic concerns about Wi-Fi capacity to support the system crippled attempts at more efficient tracking of equipment, patients and lab samples. (1)

The system should’ve gone live last month, but projections now indicate a go-live date of June, 2018. (2)

The VA’s half-billion-dollar contract was to implement RTLS infrastructure in all VA hospitals throughout the U.S., and was limited to using Wi-Fi technology to track assets and people in those facilities.

Michael Dunfee, Co-owner of MGM Solutions, a leader in Patented Triangulation and Intelligent Boundary Recognition software, says Wi-Fi-based tracking technology has proven to be unreliable, putting patients and staff at risk and exposing the disappearance of valuable medical equipment.

The solution? Newly developed technology can provide RTLS capability that doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi, which has proven unreliable due to the many opportunities for interference.

Rather than relying on Wi-Fi, MGM Solutions’ products use radio frequency to track Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags long-range. The proprietary technology can save lives, improve hospital efficiency, and increase revenue.

Non-Wi-Fi-based RTLS is vital for the huge campuses of VA Hospitals—as well as for other hospital and large institutional locations: tracking of equipment is only oneaspect of the myriad potential applications of reliable RTLS technology. Such RTLS systems can be used to track patients and staff from the moment they check in to an emergency facility or outpatient or inpatient facility. They can also be used to increase security and safety of staff in any environment.

 MGM Solutions’ technology includes three separate components that track material and equipment, track patients, and provide a security system for staff so that they can simply press a button and notify security at the first indication of a dangerous encounter. (3)

 

 

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