UPMC Manages Assets via RFID Over Wi-Fi

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — May 31, 2012

UPMC (the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) has implemented AeroScout's Healthcare Visibility Solutions to automate temperature monitoring at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital and is rolling out wireless temperature monitoring as well as asset tracking and management across most of its U.S. hospitals. The advanced RFID (radio frequency identification) solutions leverage UPMC's standard Wi-Fi network to avoid the purchase, installation and maintenance of a proprietary RFID network. The solutions are part of UPMC's strategy of using smart technology to advance quality patient care and staff efficiency.

UPMC is one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the United States. A $10 billion integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC develops and delivers life changing medicine by harnessing the power of technology, translating science into cures and accelerating the pace of innovation worldwide.

After researching Healthcare Visibility Solutions and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) for several years, UPMC decided to use a Wi-Fi-based solution to leverage the investment in its Wi-Fi network and the related expertise it had developed. The AeroScout solution also can use low frequency and ultrasound for additional use cases such as par level management, and offers integration capabilities to allow other UPMC software providers to utilize location and condition information, for instance, temperature readings, for specific clinical and operational applications.

The asset management solution enables UPMC staff to quickly and easily track the location of critical medical equipment throughout its facilities, ensuring that equipment is at the right place at the right time while eliminating the need to manually search for items. UPMC uses the Temperature Monitoring solution to automatically and wirelessly monitor the temperature of refrigerators and freezers, helping prevent spoilage of medicines, vaccines and even food. Both applications free up a significant amount of time so that staff can focus on caring for patients.

"After our extensive testing and due diligence, it was clear to us that Wi-Fi-based healthcare visibility solutions were not only the best model for our health system, but also the standard that would prevail industry-wide because of the important advantages they offer over proprietary systems," said James Venturella, CIO, physician and hospital Services at UPMC. "By using our existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, the AeroScout solutions are easier to deploy, allowing us to see the associated productivity and patient care benefits more quickly."

Following the success of its current implementation, UPMC plans to extend the value of the visibility solutions in innovative ways. For instance, UPMC will use AeroScout when it introduces a SmartRoom system at its new UPMC East hospital in Monroeville, opening this summer. The SmartRoom will use RTLS to identify caregivers as they walk into a patient's room and provide clinicians with real-time, relevant information at the patient's bedside.

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