When Eastern Maine Medical Center opened the doors to a 175,000 square-foot cancer center, Brenda Clements took a look around and realized what all that space meant to patients. “It meant they were going to get lost a lot,” said Clements during a HIMSS14 interview. “We have 300 patients a day who have to make multiple stops during their treatment, and to expect them to find their way through a new building was asking a lot.”

So Clements, R.N., manager of nursing services at Eastern Maine, spearheaded an effort to embed real-time location system technology—from Versus—into the new facility by way of hardwired infrared scanners. When patients come into the facility, their name and therapy are scanned into the RTLS network. The system tracks them through the waiting rooms and also notifies clinicians when they ready to move onto another area.

Physicians also wear RTLS badges, and when they’re done seeing a patient and ready for the next encounter, they push a button on the badge that alerts medical assistants and other staff that it’s time to walk the next patient into the exam room. The badges also enables nurses to let the pharmacy know when it’s time to fill a chemo or other therapy order, and enables pharmacists to click their badges when an order is ready for a specific patient.

The RTLS system has enabled Clements to optimize the use of the chairs where patients receive their hours-long drug therapies as well as hone the staffing at peak hours. The data and workflow improvements let the facility trim the staff by three FTEs, and have reduced the amount of walking by medical assistants and nurses by one and four miles, respectively, because they no longer have to go back and forth between areas to check on orders and patients. “All that walking time is not time they can directly interact with our patients and other staff, and we’ve seen our patient satisfaction scores get up around 97 percent since we started using RTLS technology,” Clements said.

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