Hospitals are using the current generation of real-time location systems to do more than locate things, or even people. While only 10 to 15 percent of hospitals have an RTLS installed, according to a survey released last year by KLAS Research, Orem, Utah, they're using the data generated by the systems to reform workflows--saving time, money, construction costs, and the need to hire extra staff. They're even increasing the efficiency of collecting co-pays at discharge.

Jay Deady, CEO of RTLS vendor Awarepoint, San Diego, estimates that with EHR integration, equipment tracking, and people tracking, a fully implemented RTLS can save an institution between $3 and $7 for every dollar invested. About 190 hospitals have Awarepoint's technology installed, and they have seen a return on areas ranging from ED throughput to infection prevention, he says.

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