Piedmont Healthcare utilizes Newtown, Pa.-based CenTrak Inc.'s real-time locating system (RTLS) hardware and Santa Fe, N.M.-based Vizzia Technologies' software across five campuses in Atlanta and northern Georgia, totaling 1,235 beds. It plans to expand the system to its two remaining campuses over the next few years.

For Piedmont, RTLS serves primarily to provide remote asset management for mobile medical equipment across the enterprise. As part of the system design, asset tags are attached to wheelchairs, beds, stretchers, infusion pumps and other mobile equipment devices. Then the system collects data for equipment utilization statistics, ensures that protocols for cleaning and disinfecting equipment are being met, and facilitates quicker recalls.

Each of these applications is highly valuable to enterprise management of equipment. The ability to recall equipment in a timely manner, and the visibility to correctly track the path a device traveled in the facility for comparison with the electronic health record (EHR), are also critical. With integration to the EHR and the RTLS system, equipment associated with a patient who has a health care-associated infection can be tracked and taken out of service as the facility goes through the proper protocols to limit exposure.

In a unique application, Piedmont utilizes RTLS to manage its patient bed distribution. The RTLS system allows for remote viewing of bed inventory across the enterprise, enabling Piedmont to deploy beds to each facility. Staff actively manage inventory by receiving alerts when bed par levels reach a certain threshold. This program has allowed Piedmont to reduce inventory and avoid paying third-party rental fees; it also offers potential to reduce overall labor costs. 

The RTLS software platform allows multiple applications to be utilized across the enterprise. In addition to asset management and bed inventory management, Piedmont uses the RTLS system for wireless temperature and environmental monitoring. In the future, Piedmont plans to trial hand-hygiene, patient and staff tracking, and overall process and workflow improvement.