Johns Hopkins Implements RTLS Solution at New Facility
Practically neighbor to Barcoding, Inc., Johns Hopkins’ opened its new 1.6 million-square-foot building earlier this month. Equipped with a real-time location system (RTLS), the hospital is able to monitor their staff, equipment and carts throughout the building.
The RTLS solution is a hybrid of infrared (IR) and RFID technology and emplys asset tags, employee badges, IR and RFID readers and software to manage the data. Tags send an IR signal to IR sensors located within an area of the building, while simultaneously sending RFID transmission via 433 MHz to RFID sensors. For every 10 IR sensors, there is one RDID sensor, providing room-level accuracy. For every 24 sensors, a collector captures IR read data and forwards the information to a gateway, which is then sent directly to a back-end system via a wired connection.
The RTLS system allows for nearby nurses to be alerted in the event of a patient needing immediate assistance. The first nurse who enters the room will cancel the alert, as the RFID sensors will recognize which nurse has arrived. In addition, by logging into the system via a computer, staff can view the real-time location of other workers and equipment.
In addition to tracking staff and equipment, the RTLS plays a huge roll in Johns Hopkins’ food-service system. Towlines were constructed within tunnels beneath the hospital, automating the deliver of approximately 400 food carts. The carts even have a hot and cold compartment and software can be configured to detect when the temperature exceeds an acceptable level. Once the cart passes through the tunnel and arrives at its appropriate location, food service staff is alerted and proceed to deliver food.
Johns Hopkins is happy with their RTLS solution, but plans to reevaluate later this summer, determining the next phase of adoption—and potential—for the hospital.