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In this installment of RTLS Use Cases in Hospitals, we will be taking a look at RTLS and Nursecall Integration.
Nursecall systems are used to signal to the clincial staff that help is needed in a specific room and is typically done via a button on the wall of a patients room.
Nursecall integration enables the automatic functioning of the nursecall annunciator lights. In the image on the right, is the call panel – this includes various lights, which can be set to illuminate and flash to indicate different states. The most typical are:
The system is traditionally a push button system, where the patient pushes the button to request help and the nurse pushes a button to cancel the call. The nurse presence light can be activated manually also - but is an overhead for a busy clinician.
It would be nice to automate the switching on of the nurse presence and automatically cancel the nursecall. Here's the solution for how to do just that.
Nursecall and Zone Certainty
The difficulty with nursecall integration, is that you have to have a system which can provide 100% certainty that a nurse is indeed in the room. Absolute certainty is required and while other systems use WiFi based triangulation (actually a misnomer - it's really trilateration), the exact position can drift with these systems – which could accidently cancel a nursecall in the adjacent room – for this reason, beacons must be used for nursecall integration applications.
For this use case, we have used CenTrak Infrared beacons over both sides of the doorway – they announce a unique zone number to the Staff Tag worn by the nurse – upon detecting this zone number the staff tag is positioned in the room. The staff tag is worn by the nurse and is shown (lower right) amongst some of the other location tracking tags types.
When the nursecall is in operation, an alert and a white light illuminates, the nurse just needs to enter the room to automatically cancel the alert and illuminate the presence light. Prior to the RTLS integration, the nurse would have had to press the button on the nursecall unit (triggering the requirement to wash their hands) and you also wouldn’t know who actually pressed the button. You’d now know which nurse attended, based on the Staff Tag which was detected in the room when running reports from the RTLS system.
One final addition to the setup we’ve seen implemented, was to attach an asset tag to the drug keys – any room these are in illuminated a red light on the annunciator panel – making tracking and finding these keys very easy.
Integrating nursecall into a hospital allows for less time to be spent wasting time looking for keys or multiple nurses going to one patient. It allows for quick acknowledgement, tracking and escalations for nurses, giving the nurses more time and more security in their day to day work. With all these pro's, we think it is undoubtedly worth the price to ensure patients get help quickly.