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7 ways RFID increases Patient Throughput in Hospitals

After being surrounded by RFID technology and immersed within the vast industry of healthcare, I have come to find myself applying the use of RFID to everything. In this post I want to cover 7 ways RFID, namely passive RFID, increases patient throughput in hospitals. 

Introduction to RFID in Healthcare

Passive RFID in its most basic form is a location tracking technology for anyone and anything. RFID in healthcare involves the installation of readers, antennas and RFID software to read a wide variety of passive RFID tags. Tags are applied to patients, consumable materials, equipment, surgical instruments, specimen and staff. Quake Global's RFID software (iAM) is used for workflow automation, security, process optimization and alerts as well as actionable data analytics. With integrations into healthcare software this system becomes a powerful tool for specimen processing, equipment management and other healthcare applications. 

1. Historical Data Analytics

RFID software, such as iAM, processes all location data received by readers installed within a medical facility. The historical data can be read to understand operational deficiencies in OR, ED or any other clinical setting. When a deficiency, such as a bottle neck in the patient flow, is identified, the clinic acknowledges this, begins crafting an improvement plan and sets measurable goals to monitor results. Armed with data from the RFID system facility staff and management can regularly review progress and continually improve.   

2. Workflow Automation

RFID increases  throughput with the automation of highly configurable alerts. These alerts are used in many different scenarios and are sent to the appropriate staff members to take action for assigned tasks or exceptions in any defined workflow. If the goal is to limit patient wait time in between seeing the nurse and doctor to 5 minutes; an alert can be configured to notify staff when 5 minutes have passed. Alerts are constant workflow reminders and improve clinical efficiency which leads to higher throughput. 

3. Clinical Workflow Optimization 

There is no doubt the clinical workflow directly impacts patient throughput. With rich historical data provided by RFID, clinics can better define and optimize their workflow. Once the workflow is visualized, and with the ability to monitor progress, alerts may be configured for clinics to stay on track. All Clinical staff must participate to fully optimize the workflow and drive higher throughput. 

4. More Effective Discharge Process 

An effective discharge process allows areas of the hospital, such as the ED, to take all steps necessary after a patient is discharged to prepare a patient room for the next hospital guest within an acceptable amount of time. RFID improves the process by automatically notifying the appropriate staff members (like Environmental Services) immediately upon discharge. The staff can then prepare the room for the next patient. With automated alerts like these, RFID streamlines the discharge process thus enabling higher throughput. 

5. Improvements to Coordinated Care 

Coordinated care has an impact on throughput and satisfaction. Quake’s RFID software shows the history of interactions made with a patient during their visit. If a patient is taken for specialized care, it will be displayed for the appropriate staff. Each staff member involved in the patient’s care will be made aware of any updates and automated alerts keep staff informed. 

6. Visualized Medical Equipment Management 

Quake’s RFID asset tracking solution offers great benefits for medical equipment management. While managing hospital equipment may not seem to be tied to patient throughput, there is a big connection. To have equipment sterilized, on hand and easily locatable; clinical staff focus can be set on improving the patient flow and offering more impactful patient care. RFID solves numerous equipment management deficiencies such as hoarding, unkept soiled utility rooms and maintenance upkeep by visualizing each hospital asset with RFID software. 

7. Optimized Patient Flow 

Many variables effect the flow of patients through a hospital. RFID systems provide data, alerts and infrastructure to optimize patient flow. Reducing the number of deficiencies between check in and check out is where Quake’s RFID solutions shine. Just like with clinical workflow, RFID aids in defining an improved patient flow and provides analytics to build and monitor measurable goals.

Few technologies impact patient throughput as directly as passive RFID. I hope you were able to learn about how RFID impacts healthcare through this article. For more information about RFID in healthcare click here or get in touch with Quake Global.

Tanner Immonen 
Marketing Coordinator 
Quake Global, Inc. 

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