Riverside Healthcare Turns to Kontakt.io to Solve for Medical Device Tracking & Patient Elopement

1 October 2021

Riverside Healthcare is a fully integrated healthcare system serving the needs of patients throughout the counties of Kankakee, Iroquois, Will, Grundy, and beyond. As part of the system, Riverside Medical Center, a 300-bed hospital, provides a full scope of inpatient and outpatient care and is a nationally recognized, award-winning Level II Trauma hospital with leading programs in heart care, cancer care, neurosurgery, and orthopedics. 

Riverside was doing a good job of keeping pace with patient needs, but the administration felt that there could be some available technology to help achieve new efficiencies. . After conducting some research, the management team decided that the next step to improve patient care was to equip the main hospital with Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) which would help the staff improve patient care and improve staff productivity with Medical Asset Tracking / PAR Level Management and Patient Elopement solutions.

The Riverside team wanted to incorporate RTLS into their program so that the entire medical and administration staff could see how the implementation of the latest technology could directly impact the quality of care the patients will receive.

Patient Elopement solutions

The Challenges Riverside Medical Center Encountered

When Riverside reached out to Kontakt.io, they too had the same challenges as most medical facilities all over the country have reported. Their most pressing issues were related to:

  • Decreased staff productivity
  • Inefficient patient workflow
  • Reduced asset utilization 
  • Problems with equipment distribution
  • Overworked Staff
  • Patient elopement
  • Compromised patient safety related to medical device availability, equipment loss

All of these issues combined made it increasingly challenging for the staff to provide patients with the highest level of care. The administration decided that turning to new solutions would make this mission easier.

One of the biggest challenges the Riverside staff consistently encountered was tracking the location of mobile medical devices that can be brought directly to a patient's room. Riverside recognized the potential for lost time and resources in search of devices that should be more easily located.

This type of problem can be an issue in any healthcare facility. Not only is there a patient waiting for the device, but the entire time the staff member is hunting for the piece of medical equipment they need is time they're not using to complete the rest of their daily tasks, which affects the overall patient experience.

It isn't long before staff members are behind on work, stressed about letting their patients down and feel fatigued. 

Kontakt.io’s Amazingly Simple Healthcare IoT Solutions at Riverside

There's a reason Riverside turned to Kontakt.io for help with their problems. The Riverside team knew that Kontakt.io not only had a reputation for creating reliable RTLS but also had extensive experience in the healthcare industry, providing them a consultative partner invested deeply in their success.

Kontakt.io's IoT solutions use Bluetooth® Low Energy protocol and wifi for data backhaul because the tech allows for the development of a system that keeps enterprise-grade functionality in mind while using the principles of consumer electronics. The result is a system that is effective, secure, and easy for staff members to use.

Improving Staff Productivity

“I was looking for 12 Bladder Scanners for preventative maintenance and I looked in the Simon system and they popped up within seconds. When I went up to the floors, they were exactly where the system said they were. It would have taken me the whole day to find them” - Michael Fewkes, Biomed Engineer at Riverside Healthcare 

It’s obviously a drag on efficiency when medical staff spends large quantities of time searching for a piece of equipment they need. Each moment a nurse or other member of staff spends tracking down a piece of missing equipment represents lost productivity. The result is that patients aren't getting the level of care they're entitled to, the staff becomes frustrated that they're not dealing with patients, and many members of staff find that they have to work even longer shifts to make up for the time they spent looking for equipment. 

Riverside started by placing a Bluetooth asset tag on each piece of mobile equipment (IV Pumps, BiPap Machines, Ventilators, SCD Bladder Scanners, etc) and installing gateways - Portal Lights throughout the hospital. With a simple to use platform, they were able to locate where the searched item is on a map, in near real-time. The improvement in staff productivity is instantaneous. 

Equipment Over-Utilization, Procurement, and Distribution

Kontakt.io's IoT solutions significantly improved how Riverside's administrators managed equipment. The RTLS program made it possible to see which areas of the medical facility used specific pieces of equipment the most. The administration was able to use this data to make storage and deployment of the equipment more efficient.

Erik Devine, CISO at Riverside reported “When we looked at the data collected by the medical pumps, we discovered that the combined amount of time the staff spent looking for the pumps added up to a full-time staff position. That means over forty hours a week was dedicated just to finding medical pumps!”

Improving Patient Care

As much as Riverside has benefited from Kontakt.io's asset tracking system, keeping track of equipment wasn't the only reason Riverside connected with Kontakt.io. They had another serious concern that Kontakt.io was able to successfully mitigate.

This involved patient elopement. Staff struggled to keep patients in their rooms. Not only were patients leaving the medical facility before they were officially discharged, but there was also a great deal of concern about patients wandering around the facility and potentially endangering themselves or others. Arranging to have a wristband sensor placed with each patient won't keep a confused or disoriented patient in their bed, but it allows the Riverside staff to quickly locate the patient and return them to their room before they encounter a dangerous situation.

How Riverside Medical Center Benefited from Kontakt.io's RTLS System

According to Erik Devine, CISO at Riverside Healthcare says “Working with Kontakt.io was incredibly simple. The set up in days, they pre-programmed the tags to work with our system and once the devices shipped, we just plugged them in and that was it. It’s a very simple process.”  

Kontakt.io provides a low-cost but effective option that provides a financially feasible option for hospitals that desperately need to help them continue providing a high level of health care, but also stay within what has become an increasingly tight budget.

Learn more about asset tag 2

Ease of Deployment

Legacy RTLS and IoT solutions tend to be known as complex, expensive, proprietary and monopolising, as an effect hard to deploy. Kontakt.io’s philosophy of delivering amazingly simple healthcare IoT solutions was yet again proven during this project with Kontakt.io. The project started during covid times which didn’t allow non-essential workers to be present in the hospital. The Riverside staff was able to deploy the entire infrastructure on their own, with just 4h of online training and less than 3 weeks of infrastructure deployment. 

Find out more about this project from Erik Devine, CISO at Riverside Healthcare here.

Riverside is not stopping here, understanding the full potential of IoT solutions that positively impacts patient care and experience as well as staff productivity only motivated them to further use the IoT technology, especially in their upcoming outpatient clinic. If you’d like to find out more about this project or looking for a solution to your hospital, feel free to contact our healthcare practice leaders to walk you through our solution offering on a discovery call, contact us here.

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Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]