RFID System At UCSD Medical Center Is Its Major Asset
Knowledge and awareness is everything when one seeks to have an enterprise run effectively. One of the most overlooked areas a business can make great gains in its effectiveness of purpose comes in the area of Asset Management. The ability to know exactly what tools a business has invested in, where the tools are, which tools are being used and how – further, what tools are available now to apply to the task at hand can determine success or failure … profit or loss.
Asset Management to any business enterprise is as critical as Inventory Management to a retail enterprise … if the asset or inventory is not deployed where the need exists; it is as if it never existed in the first place. This leads to lost opportunity and lost profits. In the case of a health care environment … this lack of knowledge of where an asset is and where it is deployed could lead to a loss of life, our most precious gift.
RFID system diagram. Image Credit: Awarepoint Corporation
This excerpted and edited from a Press Release, Awarepoint Corporation -
UCSD Medical Center Adds Hillcrest Campus to its Awarepoint Real-time Location System Deployment
Expansion allows UCSD complete hospital asset tracking oversight throughout its enterprise
SAN DIEGO, October 17, 2008
San Diego-based Awarepoint Corporation today announced that UCSD Medical Center is significantly expanding its Awarepoint Real-time Location System (RTLS) deployment. Following successful implementation and a fully vetted return on investment at the system’s Thornton facility, the Awarepoint relationship has now been expanded to include its Hillcrest campus, which is the primary hospital for the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.
The expansion to UCSD Medical Center - Hillcrest more than doubles the coverage area and triples the number of equipment assets the Medical Center is wirelessly tracking with Awarepoint‘s Active RFID Real-time Location Solution.
“RFID asset tracking success at UCSD Medical Center ’s Thornton facility prompted expansion to the larger Hillcrest facility, located nearly 14 miles away. The expansion to Hillcrest also provides UCSD Medical Center the ability to see real-time status and have complete oversight of shared assets between both campuses, which are significant challenges for the Medical Center today,” said Kenny Woods, Senior Vice President of Sales for Awarepoint.
Tom Hamelin, Director of Perioperative Services is responsible for sourcing UCSD Medical Center’s Zigbee-based real-time location solution with a goal to address several persistent problems relating to asset tracking management, including:
• Lowering equipment rental costs
• Reducing staff time spent searching for equipment
• Minimizing equipment theft and loss
• Reducing equipment inventory requirements
• Improving equipment maintenance process
• Improving responsiveness to JCAHO and FDA requirements
“The significant challenge common to all of these is timely, reliable locating of important equipment and assets,” said Tom. Tom chose to install the smaller UCSD Medical Center Thornton campus first to quickly provide a quantifiable return on investment. “With the combination of capital equipment expenditure savings and increased demand for asset visibility among staff after the Thornton installation, it was not difficult to get approval to expand into Hillcrest,” continued Tom.
The Awarepoint Real-time Location System was selected because it offers UCSD Medical Center room level location accuracy on an enterprise-wide basis while providing a 100% wireless, non-disruptive installation. Awarepoint’s business model provided the hospital a low cost to start because there were no construction costs and a fully managed service model that allows easy scalability on a per asset per month basis.
Sensor signal pick-ups located throught a facility act as electronic tracking gates for better asset management. Image Credit: Awarepoint Corporation
The most unique aspect of the Awarepoint system are the RFID “plug and track” network signal sensor pick-ups that plug into any standard wall outlet. This innovative signal sensor pick-up antennae allows for a rapid-impact implementation – it needs no hardwiring, fixed infrastructure or additional cables, offers a non-disruptive, dust-free installation – can be deployed even in occupied patient rooms or sterile areas.
Awarepoint Tags can be installed on any type of equipment. Small battery-powered Tags (less than 1.5” squared) are securely attached to equipment. Patient and staff Tags can be attached via belt clip, lanyard, badge or ID bracelet.
Tags broadcast low data rate messages to Awarepoint patented Sensors. Bridge nodes within Awarenet transmit Sensor data to the Awarepoint fully managed Appliance via your wired LAN. With Awarepoint, there’s no need to modify or expand your facility’s existing WiFi infrastructure. Low power radio messages from Tags are detected by the Sensors and routed through the Awarepoint Bridge to the Awarepoint Appliance. This patented architecture results in a rapid-impact implementation, longer battery life and lower cost. The simple Searchpoint™ web interface allows one-click search access to all staff from any networked PC.
All pretty cool stuff to keep track of deployed assets and be able to place them where needed in a timely manner – RFID and its ease in implementation can become any enterprise’s most major asset.