In an effort to optimize inventory management, the Navy Bureau of Medicine began the procurement process to acquire a real-time locating system (RTLS) to track its high-value medical equipment. The bureau hopes to eventually use geospatial intelligence to track surgical instruments, patients and staff as well, according to NextGov.
Nineteen Navy hospitals and hundreds of clinics worldwide will use the system once it is deployed, tracking 300,000 pieces of equipment – including vital-sign monitors, ultrasound systems and other costly tools – within a 10-foot radius.
The eventual goal of patient and staff tracking may bring out some person privacy concerns, but, according to Health Management Technology, those concerns are quickly replaced with relief at knowing where a patient is at all times. At one hospital described by HMT, the legacy system was incorrect as often as 20 percent of the time.
When the Navy launches the program it won't be the first government body to install RTLS for medical purposes. The Department of Veterans Affairs installed similar geospatial solutions in all 152 of its hospitals in 2011, the main purposes being to ensure the sterilization of surgical equipment before use.