The bread and butter for Awarepoint’s real-time location systems has been tracking patients, providers, mobile assets and workflows. But new and existing clients are adding on a few new functions: refrigerator monitoring and using RTLS to track adherence to hand hygiene and equipment cleaning policies, according to Awarepoint CEO Jay Deady during an interview at the HIMSS12 Conference in Las Vegas.

The Joint Commission now requires temperature monitoring for refrigerators housing products such as blood, vaccines and other biological agents. That has spurred Awarepoint clients to deploy a system that connects wireless sensors in refrigerators to a monitoring application. “We haven’t signed on a new client without the refrigerator monitoring component for a couple years,” Deady said. Awarepoint’s RTLS devices, which operate on the Zigbee wireless spectrum, are plugged into standard electrical outlets.

The hand hygiene system has proved popular as regulations have piled up to address the lack of hand washing by caregivers and the dangers posed by bad hygiene. Awarepoint sensors are plugged in near hand washing stations and use near-field communication technology to log when a tagged caregiver washes their hands. The system also tracks when that caregiver bypasses a washing station before or after they leave a patient room or other care area. “Hand hygiene adherence typically approaches 100 percent after the system is installed, because caregivers know someone is watching,” Deady said.

In addition, tags on mobile equipment are used by some clients to monitor when the equipment is placed in a “dirty” area and needs to be cleaned, and when it’s moved to cleaning areas and then returned to a floor. “Let’s face it, hospitals are dirty places, and they’re under a lot of pressure to ensure that ‘dirt’ doesn’t reach the patient,” Deady added.

 

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