Austrian hospital launches RTLS solution to improve staff safety

By Kyle Hardy
01:28 PM

The University Hospital of Innsbruck has recently launched an integrated wi-fi real time location system (RTLS) in its psychiatric ward. Hospital officials are looking to leverage the technology in order to better communicate with hospital staff in the event of an emergency.

“Psychiatric units can be dangerous for hospital staff, as patients are sometimes violent and unpredictable," said Franz Gruber, chief nurse of the Psychiatric Clinic at University Hospital Innsbruck.  "So, when an attack or an escape attempt occurs, there is often not enough time to call for help by conventional means, such as the telephone."

The RTLS technology, manufactured by global IT provider Ekahau, was integrated with the ward's already existing ProAct personal emergency call system, developed by ITH icoserve, and the provider's wireless local area network (WLAN) deployed by Cisco. The system uses Ekahau's badge tags which, according to company officials, support two-way text-based communication capabilities and include a panic button for use in emergency situations.

“The ProAct solution using Ekahau RTLS technology enables us to trigger an alarm with the simple push of a button on a staff badge, or even faster by just pulling the tag’s lanyard, and quickly and simply conveys information where assistance is needed so those employees who are closest to the incident can respond,” said Gruber.

With its deployment completed, the system now spans University Hospital's two seven-story ward facilities and has been distributed to the facility's 200-plus employees.