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Location and monitoring of assets in hospitals

26 March 2024

The location of assets in hospitals (beds, wheelchairs, medical equipment, etc.), whether for use, organization or maintenance, is one of the most current monitoring needs in the management of hospital centers. The number of hours lost simply in the search and location of this equipment represents great costs for a healthcare system that is in the process of optimizing and effectiveness of its processes and procedures. Added to this is an increase in the loss or theft of this type of equipment.

To address this problem in an integrated and non-invasive way, one of the most in-demand current options is the deployment of an asset tracking and monitoring solution, also known as RTLS or indoor location tracking.

Thanks to an RTLS real-time asset location system indoors, you can maintain constant control of the location of different beds, wheelchairs or medical equipment, quickly detecting their location, as well as the routes they have taken over a period of time. of a certain time. In addition to this obvious and initial use, all the stored location information of each of the assets can be used in various ways thanks to visualizations such as heat maps or its integration into artificial intelligence and big data solutions to facilitate decision making. strategies that help optimize efficiency and savings in the hospital center.

Possible solutions

When opting for an RTLS or real-time indoor location system, there are two options.

On the one hand, a general mapping of the entire building can be done to build a coordinate location system similar to a GPS but that works indoors. This method could be done with Bluetooth, WiFi, Ultra Wide Band or Sileme SAM. However, this solution, applied to a large building such as a hospital, with a large surface area and built based on corridors and wings, is probably not the most efficient or economical option. In addition, technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi or Ultra Wide Band (not so with Sileme SAM, as it does not use communication technology to locate) could interfere with the hospital's own communications system or with the medical equipment itself.

The most efficient solution to locate assets in hospitals would be linked to automated access control applied to said assets. In other words, instead of mapping the entire hospital and locating objects using coordinates, the building is parceled into sealed spaces and identified when a specific asset has entered said parcel. Taking into account that the exact location coordinate of the object is not necessary, but only the space in which it is located, controlling access to said spaces through the Sileme SAC system would allow us a practical and efficient solution.

Sileme SAC for locating assets in hospitals

Sileme SAC is an evolution of Sileme technology that allows, by installing beacons at key points, to control access with 100% effectiveness. This security guarantee comes from the fact that these beacons control the directionality of the asset when passing through them, recording whether the object has actually crossed a door or not. Thanks to this system, a hospital center can be divided into as many spaces as desired, controlling the steps between one space and another and identifying the exact space in which it is located.

In the following diagram you can see an example of how a hospital plant could be managed to locate and monitor assets in its different areas. We observe how the building has been divided into several spaces identified by color. For this subdivision, Sileme SAC beacons (blue squares) have been placed at the access doors to the different areas and in key locations such as elevators. Thanks to this distribution, with only 14 beacons you can control and monitor assets on an entire floor of a hospital with 10 completely differentiated areas. If greater precision was needed, the number of beacons could be increased to locate which room or office the asset is in.

 

                    

How does Sileme SAC work? What elements make up the solution?

Focusing on Sileme SAC as technology, the solution would have the following essential elements:

  1. Sileme SAC Beacons: They are an evolution of the classic Sileme beacons. In this case they are small in size and can be installed in the false ceiling, even hidden in a false ceiling plate. They have a technology that allows knowing the directionality of the receiver when passing under them, so they register with 100% reliability if an object has passed through them in one direction, in another, or if it has turned around in the door. They only need a 220v connection for installation, without further wiring or communication network needs.
  2. Tags for locating assets: The assets that you want to track must have Sileme Tags. These tags are designed to allow localization and are available in different formats. They have a battery or can even be integrated into the beds and connected to power. The signal generated by these tags is transmitted with a configurable periodicity through a LoRa or WiFi network, which acts as a communication channel between the assets and the server. Since it does not require a direct line of sight, it can go anywhere on the asset, even inside it.
  3. Data storage and processing: The signal from the Sileme Tags reaches the server, which can be hosted in the cloud or locally (on-premise). This is where the Sileme algorithm comes into play, processing and transforming all the location data collected, obtaining the limited area in which the assets are located. This location is stored along with its temporal fingerprint in order to historically record all the locations of the object. The data is stored in a database.

 

 

  1. Information visualization and integration with other systems: The potential of the solution is access to the information stored in the database through different options.
    1. API to integrate with other systems: On the one hand, Sileme can be used as a simple indoor location technology, accessing its stored historical data through an API that integrates and communicates with already implemented third-party software. For example, we are talking about integrating data with management software, an ERP, etc.
    2. Custom application development: On the other hand, the SilemeLife development team can work to design an application, whether desktop or mobile, that allows you to access data in the most useful way and adapted to your needs. For example, the development of an application for security guards or guards to locate beds in real time and with alerts in the event that someone leaves the established area.
    3. Visualization in Sileme Analytics: Sileme Analytics is a web application that allows the visualization of data, both in real time and in history, in table format, 2D/3D plans, heat maps or route history.

Benefits obtained

The benefits obtained through this indoor monitoring and location solution applied to hospital management for the location and monitoring of assets in hospitals are diverse:

  • Reduction of downtime for guards and security guards trying to locate beds, wheelchairs or medical equipment
  • Increased profitability of equipment by locating underused assets because they are in areas where there is less demand.
  • Better strategic decision making based on data that improves the effectiveness of processes.
  • Better maintenance of equipment and assets thanks to monitoring

Why Sileme?

SilemeLife was born after years of research and development of R&D projects related to navigation and positioning by the engineering and innovation company Skylife Engineering. The result is a unique indoor location technology in the world.

  • Allows maximum reliability. The object never disappears and offers a real location.
  • No need for direct line of sight. The receivers can be placed anywhere on the object to be located, even inside it.
  • Works perfectly in metal environments.
    Sileme technology allows you to locate a large number of objects with a very small deployment of beacons and electrical installation.
  • No problems with changing internal structures. Technology based on closed areas and key points allows changing a beacon to simply involve a change in its location at the software level.
  • Adaptive precision level. The hospital can be divided as much as desired, increasing or reducing the number of beacons, until the necessary level of precision is achieved. From large wings to exact rooms.

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Skylife Engineering S. L. is an Andalusian company that develops technological innovation with a high specialization in aerospace engineering applied to the aviation industry and other sectors, with the aim of offering solutions with a positive impact on society.

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