By Katie Wike, contributing writer
For one Florida provider, using RFID tags to track the steps nurses take is helping to improve workflow and save time.
Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Kissimmee is using RFID and a Real Time Locating System (RTLS) to track their nurses’ movements and study traffic patterns of their 31-bed surgical unit. “Tracking chips are clipped behind hospital identification badges for nursing and patient care staff. The chip activates a receiver upon entering a patient’s room, then displays the wearer’s name, job title, and photo on the patient’s television screen,” explains Healthcare Traveler. “The chip also tracks traffic patterns and time management, turning the data into diagrams and charts that can be used to find workflow efficiencies.”
"Nurses are really busy," Celebration Health's CNO, Patricia Jo Toor, RN, BA, MSN, told Health Leaders Media. "We need to be more effective and efficient in what we do, and nursing is the most expensive asset in the hospital … how can we better help their day? How can we make sure that how we have the unit set up is really efficient for nursing?"
Using the data to determine trends of movement, the hospital was able to discover how to change the workflow and make it more efficient. “For instance, the data showed that patient care techs always took dirty pumps to the clean sterile area around 6:00 a.m., which is one of busiest times for the nurses. However, the data also showed that the techs had a lot downtime between 1:00 am and 3:00 a.m.,” explained Ashley Simmons, MBA, LSS, MBB, Director of Performance Improvement. "Now they actually do the pumps between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m."
Initially there was some concern from the nurses that their movements would be tracked, but after being assured that the data would never be used to punish them, most were willing to volunteer to wear the chips. “Anytime you tell people you’re going to watch what they’re doing, there’s that little bit of fear,” says Toor, “Now, they have no issues wearing it at all.
“The whole idea is to make their work day better. I think when you keep it in that spirit and you actually use it for that, they’re willing to wear it and see how impacts their day.”