RTLS and locating services for hospitals

RTLS system for hospitals: Possible locating solutions in hospitals and other health and care facilities are asset tracking, people tracking, wayfinding/indoor navigation and proximity marketing. While Indoor Navigation and Proximity Marketing address visitors and patients, Asset Tracking contributes to internal process optimization for medical and technical staff and simplifies administrative procedures. People Tracking helps medical and technical staff to locate each other and the whereabouts of patients. The persons to be tracked require a wearable tag, i.e. they must be equipped with a special transmitter. This fact almost excludes visitors from this locating service due to the administrative effort involved.

favendo rtls system for hospitals asset-tracking_wayfinding

RTLS system for hospitals on Bluetooth basis

Bluetooth seems to be the ideal technological basis for any RTLS System for hospitals, as it operates at a frequency between 2.400 and 2.4835 GHz and the transmission power of Bluetooth is far below the power flow limit of 10 W/m². Even sensitive diagnostic and therapy devices are not disturbed by this radio technology. Frequency hopping reliably eliminates connection interference, as a disturbed connection is automatically replaced by a redundant connection.

Locating services for patients and visitors in the hospital

Due to the special target group structure, locating services that address visitors and patients in particular place particularly high demands on reliability and user-friendliness for an RTLS system. Indoor navigation helps to answer the following questions:

  • What is XYZ?
  • Where is XYZ?
  • How do I get to XYZ?

With the help of location-based proximity, patients and visitors can also be quickly provided with information on specific locations. For example, patients and visitors can receive a confirmation message when they enter a certain area (“You have reached YXZ”).

Locating service for medical and technical staff in hospitals

Locating services such as asset tracking, indoor navigation and people tracking, as well as the ability to contact a person immediately, can make a major contribution to optimizing internal processes in hospitals and care facilities. An RTLS system for hospitals helps to answer the following questions:

  • Where is person XYZ?
  • How do I get to Person XYZ by the shortest route?
  • Where is Asset XYZ?
  • Where is the nearest Asset XYZ und how do I get there?
  • Is person XYZ still in the building / unit?
  • Is Asset XYZ still in the building / unit?

Different methods of position calculation (RSSI / AoA) based on Bluetooth technology offer different positioning accuracy. The method should be chosen depending on the services the RTLS system is to provide in the hospital.

The RSSI method uses the effect of the decrease in signal strength (attenuation). If three signal transmitters are involved, it is called trilateration, if the number of signal transmitters is even higher, it is called multi-lateration. The AoA method allows location in the submeter range, which also makes it possible to precisely locate small assets and to clearly identify assets that are stored close to each other. With the AoA method, not only the distances to the signal generators but also the angles are used to determine the position of an object. Two angles and one length are required for a two-dimensional identification of a position. Angle – technically “angle of arrival” (AoA) – refers to the angle at which the signal meets the receiver. The angle is measured by the delay of the signal (“Time of Flight” TOF). TOF measures the time taken for a signal to travel the distance between an object and the reference point, the known position of a transmitter.

However, this method is not suitable for indoor navigation and must be combined with the RSSI method. More about the technical background of a position determination here.

Process optimization in hospitals through Locating Services

Locating services can contribute to improvements in various areas of the hospital:

  • facility and workforce management: External and internal personnel can be quickly and directly directed to the place of operation/repair.
  • Warehouse / Asset Management: Storage locations of required items can be optimally adapted to requirements, the locating and management of assets is extremely simplified

Favendo offers all services for setting up locating systems in hospitals, including installation and maintenance services.

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