Veterans Affairs Implementing RTLS Across Seven Midwest Hospitals

Claire Swedberg | RFID Journal | August 6, 2012

The facilities, located in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, are installing six different types of real-time location systems, as well as passive RFID tags and other auto-ID technologies, with all data managed by Intelligent InSites software on a single platform.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently in the process of installing a real-time location system (RTLS) at all seven of its hospitals in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. The VA's intention is to improve staff efficiencies, and thereby provide better medical care to veteran patients. The VA's health-care system is divided geographically into 21 regions, known as Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs), with Indiana, Illinois and Michigan comprising VISN 11. The RTLS solution involving the seven VISN 11 hospitals is being implemented by Hewlett-Packard (HP) Enterprise Services, with a variety of hardware vendors providing real-time location and temperature data. Intelligent InSites' enterprise-wide RTLS software provides a single user interface for the applications, by managing data culled from all of the individual systems.

The installation is being called the largest such RTLS installation to date, the agency reports. Once completed, it will include 25,000 active RTLS tags, 94,000 passive RFID tags, and 2,000 wireless temperature and humidity sensors, and will cover a combined total of approximately 4.5 million square feet. The system also includes bar codes etched on 255,000 surgical instruments, as well as passive RFID tags for the 63,000 cardiac catheterization lab supplies consumed annually by the seven hospitals. Read data regarding all of these items will be transmitted to the Intelligent InSites software residing on VISN 11's network, thereby enabling hospital employees not only to locate items or identify temperature changes in real time, but also to run reports and conduct analyses regarding assets, inventory levels and location details. In addition, the solution automates workflows and alerts based on real-time data. For instance, an alert could be triggered in the event that a temperature rose or dropped out of range, or if a dirty infusion pump was moved into a clean storage closet.