By Greg Bartlett
Many hospitals in America have become sprawling complexes full of medical professionals, patients, and transportable equipment. With this sprawl, it can be difficult to keep track of the locations of all patients, movable equipment, and personnel. Even with careful records, patients could be moved to the wrong room, or worse, leaving medical personnel wondering where they went, and spending tremendous amounts of time looking for the people they are supposed to care for. No patient ever has to be lost in the hospital again, thanks to GPS tracker technology.
Summerville Medical Center in Summerville, South Carolina recently began a pilot program in their ER Unit that could change the way that hospitals care for their patients. They give each incoming ER patient a wrist-mounted GPS tracker that the patient will wear for their entire stay at the hospital. The tracker sends out a constant signal, which hospital personnel can then track in real-time. Even if there is a clerical error, hospital personnel can instantly locate the exact position, including which floor that they are on, of any patient that is admitted into the hospital complex. With this GPS tracker system, doctors and nurses can save precious time finding a patient, if a patient has an in-hospital emergency, for example. Or, if a patient isn’t where they are supposed to be, nurses can instantly pinpoint them, send nurses to their location, and guide the patient back to where they belong.
This GPS tracking system is also used to track the locations of portable hospital equipment in real-time. A GPS tracker is also attached to every piece of equipment in the ER, including “crash carts.” With this tracking, ER personnel never have to waste precious time hunting for necessary life-saving equipment, they can press a couple of buttons, and the GPS tracking computer can instantaneously locate the real-time location of the equipment needed. When an ER patient’s life is on the line, seconds are as valuable as gold to the ER personnel. Reports already indicate that this technology saves each ER nurse an average of 15 minutes per shift. As such, this technology can save doctors and nurses those precious seconds, when a patient’s life is on the line, and ultimately, can save precious lives.
GPS tracker technology can be effectively used in hospitals to keep track of every patient and every piece of life-saving equipment. The Summerville Medical Center is living proof that a small investment in technology can be an enormous investment in saving lives.