Cisco and GE Healthcare Partner for Hospital Solutions

— February 22, 2011

GE Healthcare Performance Solutions, a global business providing end-to-end knowledge solutions to the healthcare industry through advisory, technology ,and healthcare expertise, and Cisco, a worldwide provider of IT networking solutions, have joined forces to help hospitals improve the quality of patient care, increase efficiency, and reduce costs by enabling them to better manage the flow of patients, staff, and equipment.

Through this collaboration between GE and Cisco, hospitals will have the ability to deploy GE’s AgileTrac platform, integrated with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network and Cisco Context-Aware Software, to track patients, staff, and equipment with diverse network technologies, helping to improve the quality of patient care, increase efficiency, and control costs. The combined GE and Cisco solution brings together location information about Wi-Fi clients, tags, and wired devices, with proprietary real-time location system technologies (RTLS), regardless of the network provider.

Previously, hospitals were forced to operate two separate tracking systems for Wi-Fi and proprietary RTLS technologies. Now, organizations can achieve a more complete, consolidated view of assets throughout their existing structure.

“Healthcare organizations cannot afford overspending on lost or underutilized assets,” says Rob Reilly, general manager, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions - Americas. “The GE-Cisco collaboration will look to help healthcare organizations reduce unnecessary waste while being more efficient with time, money, and equipment. Using the hospitals' existing infrastructure, this collaboration will look to minimize costs to meet the demands for real-time location while providing the tools necessary to effectively manage mobile assets more efficiently.”

More than 90% of large US hospitals deploy Wi-Fi networks while also using RTLS to track and visualize patient and asset flow. Having the capability to stream Wi-Fi and RTLS data into one platform through the existing infrastructure helps hospital managers know at a glance the location of critical medical technologies, therefore providing clinicians with the tools needed for timely patient care. This reduces the need for over-provisioning equipment and medical specialists, while providing improved patient flow.

“This collaboration between GE and Cisco creates the bridge between Wi-Fi and RTLS technologies, allowing hospitals to manage multiple location technologies on one platform, and leverage their existing investments in Wi-Fi technology,” says Ray Smets, vice president and general manager, Wireless Networking business unit, Cisco. “Cisco focuses on delivering value to customers by investing in new services and partnering in ways that take advantage of intelligence in the Cisco Unified Wireless Network to solve business problems. In this way, we help enable hospitals to improve clinical processes, help protect patient data, and empower caregivers–deriving more value from their network investment.”

Both Bon Secours Richmond and the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) see the benefit of tracking assets and patients with the GE-Cisco solution.

“With increasing financial pressures, the need for operational excellence is a necessity. Bon Secours is already benefiting from real-time data on the location and movement of mobile equipment and patients through the GE AgileTrac RFID network to make smart decisions to improve care delivery and hospital operations,” says Jeff Pearson, vice president, information services, Bon Secours Richmond. “Bon Secours is excited about the ability to simply integrate an additional 9,000 Wi-Fi-based assets into the same easy-to-use interface that leverages our existing technology infrastructure investments.”

With asset utilization across the healthcare industry at 40% on average, there is a significant need to help hospitals become more efficient. By streaming Wi-Fi and RTLS into GE’s AgileTrac platform, healthcare organizations can manage the flow of the right asset, with the right patient, at the right time with confidence. As a healthymagination-validated product, AgileTrac has been proven to optimize use of mobile equipment in hospitals, resulting in equipment-related cost reduction of greater than 15% and net cost facility savings.

“Improving and enhancing asset efficiency and hospital facility productivity is imperative in today’s world,” says Michael Joseph, CEO, HCA East Florida division. “Not being able to find the right equipment at the right time makes it difficult for clinical staff to provide the highest quality of care to each patient. Having a single, centralized solution where all Wi-Fi and RTLS assets are tracked will ensure an increase in quality of patient care and access to equipment when and where you need it.”

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