Asset tracking in Healthcare

Indoor positioning on the HP Aruba infrastructure

Capita, providing technology to NHS South Tees Foundation Trust that enables life-saving hospital equipment to be mapped digitally, is trusting on WMW for its application layer.

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When the NHS contacted Capita, in search for an asset management and positioning solution for its equipment – such as ventilators, ECG machines, and beds – it asked to do this in a cost effective manner. With an existing HP Aruba wifi network already installed throughout the facility it was a natural choice to leverage this infrastructure for the job. With a network in place, and defined devices for the assets, all that was missing was the application layer.

In busy hospitals, equipment can be moved to and from storage depending on demand. As well as assisting servicing engineers in locating equipment in sometimes unfamiliar, multi-storey hospitals, the technology enables authorised personnel to track if any equipment is missing, and if there is a shortage (or surplus) of items. Accordingly, the technology will be a valuable tool for any hospital looking to make its procurement processes more streamlined and efficient.

A typical, medium-sized hospital is likely to have tens of thousands of pieces of equipment. Any moveable item can be ‘mapped’ in our database, from defibrillators in accident and emergency wards to chairs in patient waiting areas. Uploading floor-plans and overlaying information on them allows for deep personalisation of the project and valuable consumable data for the user. The location history of equipment is also tracked, a benefit for security and accountability and especially relevant for high-value items.

This ‘asset mapping’ technology expands upon the core Wi-Fi infrastructure and support services Capita currently provides for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Mark Cook, executive officer for Technology Solutions at Capita, said: “This asset mapping technology will facilitate a joined-up system for tracking the exact whereabouts and total number of hospital equipment at any one time, promoting greater efficiencies and reducing the potential for confusion among personnel that may currently use non-mapped electronic or paper records. “IoT technology that makes the maintenance of essential hospital equipment easier will be welcomed not only by engineers and administrative personnel, but by the nurses and doctors that use the equipment on a day-to-day basis when caring for their patients.

Marc Saaiman, deputy head of procurement at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Hospitals must respond quickly to the changing needs of their patients at any one time. The digital mapping of hospital equipment will facilitate smoother and more cost-efficient procurement of essential items, to the betterment of health professionals and patients alike. As well as cutting down on the risk of unnecessary equipment being ordered, this technology will enable personnel to identify immediately if any items are in short supply and need reordering.