Awarepoint announces Real-Time Location System (RTLS) deployment to Moores Cancer Center
San Diego 11 June 2009Awarepoint Corporation has deployed its Real-time Location System (RTLS) at the Rebecca and John Moores University of California San Diego (UCSD) Cancer Center. This deployment adds a third UCSD Medical Center hospital to Awarepoint's RTLS coverage, which currently includes the system's Thornton and Hillcrest campuses. The Awarepoint enterprise RTLS installation has now been expanded to include nearly 1,5 million square feet with more than 2000 assets under management, covering three hospitals across nearly 14 miles.
UCSD Medical Center's Awarepoint deployment includes a multiplicity of RTLS tag types to support a variety of business applications at the hospitals. Awarepoint tags broadcast low-power radio messages which allow users to quickly locate specific equipment or people and provide information about their movement and status throughout the enterprise. Each tag features unique functionality and a specific form factor to support an array of applications:
- Standard T2A RTLS Asset Tag: Each tag features a unique indicator switch. When triggered, the system sends an alert which can be configured for specific use cases (e.g., "I'm ready to be used again", or "I need maintenance").
- Sterilizable T2S RTLS Asset Tag: The T2S Tag is the industry's first sterilizable RTLS active RFID asset management tag and is clinically tested for product-specific cleaning, sterilization and disinfection. Without removing it from equipment, the T2S Tag endures standard autoclave cycles at temperatures up to 135°C, as well as immersion in the most common liquid sterilization methods.
- Temperature Monitoring T2T RTLS Asset Tag: The T2T incorporates reporting and alerting capabilities including monitoring of temperatures ranging from -28°C to +90°C ±1°C and automatic notification alerts if temperature is above or below preset thresholds for a user-specified amount of time.
The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is using RTLS for the same standard asset management challenges faced at UCSD Medical Centers' Thornton and Hillcrest facilities, including:
- Reducing equipment inventory requirements
- Lowering equipment rental costs
- Reducing staff time spent searching for equipment
- Minimizing equipment theft and loss
Because one of the most challenging and expensive equipment categories to manage is surgical instrumentation trays, availability of Awarepoint's T2S sterilizable tag was one of the primary RTLS drivers for the Moores UCSD Cancer Center installation. On average, UCSD Medical Center processes 4000 - 5000 instrumentation trays every month, many of which are shared between three campuses. Identifying the location and status of these trays maximizes their usage and lowers the need for additional inventory, while at the same time reducing surgical case delays, and worse, cancellations - which can cost the hospital thousands in surgical team idle time, decrease operating room utilization and impact the efficiency of patient care.
As with most facilities, careful budget management at UCSD Medical Center is essential. "We could not afford to continually stock all 3 campuses with duplicates of each and every one of the assets they may need - particularly costly items such as medical instrumentation tray sets", stated Tom Hamelin, director of peri-operative services at UCSD Medical Center. Shared inventory allows UCSD Medical Center the opportunity to see more surgical cases and utilize each of their operating rooms to its fullest capacity. "This would pose an inventory management nightmare if I didn't have true enterprise-awareness across all buildings", continued Tom Hamelin.
With Awarepoint, ZigBee sensors are deployed in standard electrical outlets to cover the entire enterprise. Using underlying ZigBee technology and patented computational algorithms, Awarepoint provides true enterprise-wide awareness - not only room-level, but persistent accuracy across the entire hospital footprint. Alternative RTLS systems, like infrared (IR) or ultrasound, require signal containment - within four walls - to effectively locate transmitting tags. The accuracy of these systems is highly dependent on number and placement of receivers and line of sight between the tag and the receiver.
"With IR or ultrasound systems, customers would need to deploy a dense and expansive infrastructure to truly cover an entire enterprise", stated Matt Perkins, Awarepoint's chief technology officer. "In addition, with these alternative technologies, signals can be blocked by normal hospital processes. Equipment in areas like closets, drawers, case carts, wrapped assets, etc. will be 'hidden'. This is particularly critical in open areas like the Sterile Processing Department (SPD), and for assets like instrumentation trays that are housed in case carts, wrapped trays or Tyvek Peel Pouches."
The Awarepoint Real-time Location System was selected because it offers UCSD Medical Center persistent room-level location accuracy on an enterprise-wide basis while providing a 100 percent wireless, non-disruptive installation. Awarepoint's dedicated, but interoperable, 802.15.4 ZigBee network maintains separation from Wi-Fi and eliminates interference and security concerns that can adversely affect mission-critical applications running on the hospital's Wi-Fi infrastructure.
"Awarepoint's RF-based technologies not only provide room-level accuracy, they also guarantee enterprise-wide awareness without interference or security risks", added Matt Perkins. "Awarepoint's business model provides the hospital a fully managed service that allows easy scalability on a per asset per month basis."
University of California San Diego (UCSD) operates San Diego's only academic medical centre system of hospitals, clinics and regional specialty centres. Established in 1979, the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of just 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States. Such centres are prominent among the leading institutions in the nation dedicated to scientific innovation and clinical excellence. UCSD is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego and Imperial counties to have earned this honour.
Awarepoint's real-time location systems (RTLSs) include its real-time awareness platform, firmware, active RFID tags, sensors, and bridges. Awarepoint's technologies collect raw sensor data and transform that data into high-value positioning information that can be used to add location awareness to a variety of health care, manufacturing, security and other applications. Requiring no hard wiring, Awarepoint's "plug and track" ZigBee-based wireless sensor network is a fully managed service, including hardware, software, remote monitoring and maintenance. The company is headquartered in San Diego, California and serves its hospital customers across the United States through an exclusive distribution partnership with Skytron.
ZigBee is the global wireless language connecting dramatically different devices to work together and enhance everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is a non-profit association of more than 300 member companies driving development of ZigBee wireless technology. The Alliance promotes world-wide adoption of ZigBee as the leading wirelessly networked, sensing and control standard for use in consumer electronics, energy, health care, home, commercial and industrial areas.
More news about Awarepoint is available in the VMW November 2008 article Tri-City Medical Center and Awarepoint Corporation announce medical centre-wide RFID asset tracking system.
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