Health First improves asset utilisation and reduces costs using AeroScout Healthcare RTLS solutions

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AeroScout, provider of Unified Asset Visibility for the healthcare industry, has announced that Health First has implemented and is realising significant benefits from AeroScout's Wi-Fi RFID Asset Tracking and Temperature Monitoring solutions in its three hospitals, and will soon deploy the solutions at a fourth hospital currently under construction. Health First uses AeroScout's Healthcare Real Time Location System (RTLS), integrated with a high performance Cisco Unified Wireless Network designed and implemented by AT&T, to increase equipment utilisation, improve patient care and reduce capital expenditures. For instance, Health First has gained visibility and deep insights into the utilisation patterns of its infusion pumps, which will enable the health system to equip its soon-to-open Viera Hospital without having to purchase new infusion pumps a potential savings of more than US$300,000.

A not-for-profit, community-based health system serving Florida's Brevard County, Health First is devoted to integrating quality healthcare services with state-of-the-art technology. It presently consists of three hospitals Cape Canaveral Hospital, Holmes Regional Medical Center and Palm Bay Hospital and is building Viera Hospital, which is scheduled to open its doors in 2011.

With AeroScout's Asset Tracking and Management solution, Health First is more effectively using its 1,200 infusion pumps and tracking other critical medical equipment, such as bariatric beds. Importantly, Health First and AeroScout teamed to introduce innovation to the industry by physically connecting Wi-Fi Tags with infusion pumps to retrieve the pumps' status information (e.g., active, inactive, etc.). These advanced tags send real-time information over the Wi-Fi network to AeroScout's MobileView software about both the location and status of the pumps, providing a level of visibility that was not previously possible.

"Knowing the status of pumps adds significant value to an asset tracking and management solution," said Walter Lawrence, Director of Clinical Engineering. "This additional visibility means we don't have to physically find the pump to know if it is in use or not, and we also gain accurate utilization data that we never before had."

The resulting enhanced hospital asset tracking and utilisation has three important benefits:
The staff spends significantly less time searching for assets, which, prior to deploying the solution, could take thirty minutes or more for a single item.
Health First can avoid the purchase of additional pumps, which on average can cost thousands of dollars each.
The hospitals don't have to rent extra pumps nearly as often, thus reducing the associated rental costs.
"In addition to the substantial time savings we've gained as a result of being able to locate equipment more quickly, the AeroScout solutions are extremely valuable in exposing what we didn't know before, such as utilization rates of infusion pumps and finding faulty refrigerators. They also give us a wealth of data that we can use to more effectively manage our equipment," said Rich Rogers, CIO, Health First. "We estimate that we will avoid having to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of IV pumps alone, in addition to the other cost savings and benefits that the AeroScout solutions have delivered."

In addition to optimising equipment utilisation, Health First uses AeroScout Asset Tracking to monitor the workflow of infusion pumps during the cleaning process. If, for example, an infusion pump takes the wrong path during the cleaning process, the AeroScout solution will alert the appropriate staff. This helps prevent unclean pumps from inadvertently being put back into service or placed in the clean room, improving patient safety and saving the time of identifying and correcting potential errors.

With AeroScout's Wi-Fi Temperature Monitoring solution, Health First wirelessly tracks the temperature of refrigerators that store medications located throughout its three hospitals. The system records the temperature of each refrigerator at 15-minute intervals, alleviating the nursing and pharmacy staff of the task of manually tracking temperature readings. It also automatically alerts staff when temperatures deviate from pre-set ranges, which enables staff to act promptly when necessary. For example, in two instances, the AeroScout solution quickly identified refrigerators that had been accidentally unplugged, saving Health First an estimated $60,000 that it would have cost in each occurrence to replace spoiled medications. The solution also provided accurate historical temperature data to determine if the medications stored in those refrigerators had to be disposed of or could be saved.

"Health First has been at the forefront of using Healthcare RTLS to improve operations and patient safety," said Steffan Haithcox, Senior Director of Marketing at AeroScout. "In addition to achieving tremendous results with AeroScout solutions, the Health First team has been a great partner, providing valuable insights that, over the years, have helped us improve and expand our solutions to the benefit of many other hospitals around the world."

AeroScout will be showcasing its healthcare solutions in booth #622 at the AAMI 2010 Conference & Expo in Tampa, Fla., June 26 - 28.

About AeroScout
AeroScout is a provider of Unified Asset Visibility solutions. Customers improve operational efficiency using AeroScout products that leverage standard Wi-Fi networks to track and manage the location, condition and status of mobile assets and people. AeroScout's global customer base consists of hospital, manufacturing and logistics organisations, including many of the Fortune 500. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, AeroScout has offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

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