AeroScout helps Belgian hospitals track equipment, patients

By Jeff Marion
12:00 AM
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Aeroscout Inc., a provider of Wireless Asset Tracking solutions, has recently expanded its business in Europe with two installations at Jan Yperman Hospital in Ieper and St. Trudo Hospital, which serves the Limburg and Vlaams-Brabant regions of Belgium.

In Jan Yperman's case, 1,450 tags were installed in 12 months. Of the installed tags, 1,000 are attached to equipment, 400 will track patient movement, and 50 will monitor temperatures in the hospital's data center and lab refrigerators.

The Wi-Fi RFID tags, with integrated temperature sensors, are placed inside refrigerators, freezers and deep freezers and send temperature readings over a standard Wi-Fi network to AeroScout's MobileView software.

The tags at Jan Yperman were integrated with existing WLAN infrastructure, with Aeroscout's MobileView software providing real-time, front-end tracking. Hospital staff use a web-based dashboard display to track the location of infusion pumps, wheelchairs, patient monitors and other equipment throughout the hospital.

In addition to equipment tracking, AeroScout is helping the hospitals track their most important asset, their patients.

The tags, which can be worn by patients, track their location through the pre-op, operating, and post-op rooms as they undergo surgeries, for example. The tags can also alert hospital staff if patients cross certain security barriers, or leave designated areas of the hospital.

AeroScout also provides a complete API for their MobileView software, allowing hospitals to integrate with existing software and tailor asset tracking functionalities to their specific needs.

At St. Trudo hospital, which treats 11,000 patients each year, 150 tags have been installed since September, 2008. The implementation will ultimately integrate AeorScout's tags with a range of existing software applications throughout the hospital. The hospital has already seen benefits in reduced patient wait time for wheel chairs and specialty mattresses.

St. Trudo's system includes a Cisco Systems Unified Wireless Network for its Wi-Fi foundation, with AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based active RFID tags placed on items to be tracked throughout the facility. Systems integrator NextiraOne installed 250 Wi-Fi access points.

So far, asset tracking has proved an effective, and accurate way of improving patient care and hospital efficiencies. Hospital employees - technical departments, nurses, and doctors - have quickly learned the system. Both hospitals hope to expand their implementations in the future with more tags and integrations with existing hospital technologies.