Ohio hospital uses RFID for asset tracking

Dec. 13, 2007
So. Ohio Medical Center adopts hospital-wide asset management solution

A 222-bed hospital in southern Ohio is hard at work trying to track its expensive healthcare technologies.

With high-end specialty devices used by the hospital staff, it's a concern that such devices aren't being rolled out the doors by thieves, and also that hospital staff know immediately where to locate a specific device when the situation calls.

Radianse, an RFID-based asset tracking provider, is apparently working with the hospital, Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), to accomplish these goals. The company's location platform and "Reveal" asset tracking systems is being implement hospital-wide, and will managed some 1,600 medical devices and specialty equipment in the hospital.

The adoption of Radianse's technology is part of a major $110 million facility expansion that is adding over 100 rooms, as well as new facility areas such a new emergency services area and a same-day surgery section.

The technology was rolled out such that coverage could be either zone-level (i.e., Radiology), or at the room-level (e.g., surgery bay #1). The room-level technology can often pinpoint a device within three feet.

Besides equipment management, they hospital even found benefits when it came to JCAHO compliance. The hospital is taking advantage of the system for monthly safety inspection of hospital beds, a process that had previous been plagued with challenges as locating empty beds or finding when in-use beds might become empty and available for the check.

According to Penny Cooper, the administrative director of worksite and patient safety for SOMC, "the technology impacts virtually every department." Cooper added that the next step would be to possibly use the system for patients, when needed, and possibly for security issues outside the main facility.

"Our future plans will consider use of the Radianse platform to improve safety, particularly to add patient flow as we ramp up our new emergency services," said Cooper. "We also think about staff safety. Imagine if every staff member had an active-RFID tag in the parking garage – a wonderful security application. Disaster preparedness is another opportunity."