What is RTLS?
RTLS (Real-time location system) is a promising technology for patient tracking in hospitals and healthcare settings. When it comes to RTLS tracking technology in hospitals, the first applications that come to mind are triage planning and optimizations in emergency services, operating room usage and planning, and the bed management process. Aside from these well-known application areas, improving hospital admission and discharge processes can be difficult, but implementing real-time location system (RTLS) technology can help streamline the process and make it more efficient for both patients and staff.
Traditionally, patient admission and discharge procedures are handled through a Hospital Information System (HIS) Patient admission officers are in charge of registering patients when they first arrive at the hospital. Unfortunately, the workload and immediate distractions of admissions officers can cause delays in the patient admission process in HIS. The time it takes from the patient’s arrival at the hospital to his admission to HIS can be several hours, which can disrupt the patient’s medical care and treatment process.
Patient admission officers are also in charge of HIS discharge procedures. As with patient admission, the discharge process from HIS may be delayed due to the distractions and workload of admissions officers. Even though the patient’s medical care and treatment are complete, he or she has to wait until the discharge from HIS is completed. The time it takes from manual discharge entry to HIS is usually measured in hours, but it can be as much as a half or a full day in some cases. Any additional time spent in the hospital after medical care has been completed incurs significant costs for payers, both insurance and patients.
“Any additional time spent in the hospital after medical care has been completed incurs significant costs for payers, both insurance and patients.”-Borda Technology
Admission and Discharge with RTLS Patient Tracking
Hospital patient tracking using RTLS technology can be a solution to the problem of delay in discharge and hospitalization, which is a major issue in hospital management. The admissions officer may wear the patient’s wristband with the RTLS Patient Tag when the patient is first admitted to the hospital. This allows staff to track patients throughout the facility quickly and easily, eliminating the need for long check-in lines and multiple paperwork submissions.
Wearable patient tags allow for real-time patient tracking in hospital settings, and this location data can be shared with HIS at the same time. Integration between the HIS and an RTLS-enabled patient flow/patient throughput solution ensures that patients are admitted at the correct time and that care and treatment can begin without delay. RTLS tags are worn by patients throughout their inpatient and hospital stay.
When the medical care and treatment process is completed, nurses can remove wearable patient tags shortly after the discharge decision is made. Removing the patient tag can automatically send discharge notifications to the HIS in real-time, allowing patients to leave the hospital without having to wait for manual HIS entry.
Patient tags can reduce the risk of errors during the admission process in addition to simplifying the check-in and discharge processes. Staff can quickly verify that patients are in the correct room and have received the correct treatments, reducing the possibility of medication or treatment errors. This can improve not only the patient’s experience but also their health outcome.
Patient tracking with RTLS in the hospital ensures precise timing during the patient’s initial admission and accurately determines the time to discharge when medical care and treatment are completed. For hospital management processes, RTLS technology provides high-time resolution. The integration of an RTLS patient location tracking system and the HIS is a critical step toward advanced, data-driven healthcare.
Overall, RTLS patient tracking can greatly improve hospital admission and discharge processes by streamlining the check-in and checkout processes and assisting staff in keeping track of patients throughout the facility. Hospitals can provide better care to patients and improve their overall experience by implementing RTLS.