We’ve all found ourselves in a clinic or hospital at some point and witnessed the hustle and bustle that is a daily part of the lives of doctors, nurses, and healthcare administration. Many of us also have family members working in healthcare that come home and share the highlights and low points of stressful, rushed days. Or perhaps you’ve experienced the action from the patient’s perspective, left waiting an inordinately long time alone in a doctor’s exam room, gown-clad and wondering – Do they know I’m still here?
Increasing Efficiency and Patient Satisfaction
Intelligent InSites, a Fargo-based technology company, offers a solution for busy hospitals that allows healthcare workers to focus more on patient care, and allows administrators to maximize the use of their facilities and assets.
“We basically make software for the healthcare industry that makes hospitals more efficient,” says Ralf Mehnert-Meland, Vice President of Partnerships and International Business at Intelligent InSites.
Intelligent InSites designs software that uses various types of sensory devices in order to collect information. These devices may use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), wi-fi, ultrasound, infrared and other technologies in order to collect data such as location, movement, temperature, humidity, and air pressure. The ability to collect this information solves numerous problems.
“Hospitals are traditionally very inefficient,” says Mehnert-Meland, “They’re high traffic environments, lots of people and lots of moving parts, and this is where Intelligent InSites comes in.” Intelligent InSites begins a real-time operational intelligence project by tagging and tracking the equipment within a hospital or clinic. When a patient is in need of a wheelchair, IV pump or other equipment/supplies, a nurse will not have to spend time looking for one of the department’s IV pumps or wheelchairs in an unknown last location, but rather locate the closest one not in use that will show up on the computer screen. There will be no missing pieces of equipment, because all assets will be tagged and accounted for. Hospital administrations often purchase equipment unnecessarily when it appears they’ve run out, when in fact, they just need to know where their current equipment is.
Tracking asset locations also proves to be useful when staff needs to know which pieces of equipment came into contact with an infectious patient. Patients wearing a tagged hospital device may be monitored for purposes of infection control, as well as other safety concerns such as wandering patients, hospitalized prisoners, and prevention of infant abduction.
Admitted patients that have been waiting for a doctor or nurse for too long will automatically set off an alert after a fixed period of time. Likewise, the discharge time of a patient will be automatically recorded and alert cleaning staff that the room may be prepared for the next patient. An automated admission/discharge process is just one way to reduce nurses’ data entry obligations, allowing them to spend more time with patients.
Air pressure and temperature data can be monitored and adjusted to keep germs contained, and to keep medications at appropriate temperatures and accounted for. Staff hand washing may be monitored in order to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Work flows between staff, patients and equipment may be analyzed in order to improve efficiency, patient experience, and working conditions.
Intelligent InSites is one of a few companies that do this kind of work. Being so unique has naturally led them to operating worldwide. “The U.S. market is just starting,” says Mehnert-Meland, “We believe less than 5% of hospitals in the U.S. have a system like ours. But overseas we have been very active.” While there are clinics locally such as the Sanford Moorhead Clinic and Family HealthCare, as well as clinics nationwide that are using systems from Intelligent InSites, the company’s reach extends all the way to Southeast Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East.
The reason for such international expansion is mainly due to the building of brand new facilities or huge hospital renovations. New construction is often spurred on by medical tourism in such countries as Singapore and Thailand. Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital is a globally renowned hospital that partners with Intelligent InSites. According to Mehnert-Meland, when large, western-like facilities are constructed, administration often wants real-time operational intelligence in place from the start. “Try to find a pump in a 2,000 bed hospital.” Some hospitals, such as ones in the Middle East, are confronted with a lack of caregivers. These facilities need healthcare technology to take as much burden off of staff as possible, allowing nurses and doctors more time with patients.
Intelligent InSites has also seen a greater interest overseas in the “spending money to save money” approach. Many countries have centralized, state-run hospital systems, and must budget accordingly. When equipment is tracked and monitored, hospitals have more control over their inventory, decreasing the costs of theft and the need for rental equipment. One facility that Intelligent InSites works with began tracking 5,000 pieces of equipment, and has managed to save $1 million each year since simply by avoiding rental equipment costs and monitoring for theft.
Intelligent InSites is essentially looking to take as many unknowns out of the healthcare equation as possible. Their software platform aims to use technology to simplify the lives of patients, doctors, and nurses and put a hospital’s focus back on the human experience.
For more information, please visit www.intelligentinsites.com.