Ekahau Inc., the worldwide leader in high performance Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), announced that Ekahau RTLS is being utilized as the underlying real-time tracking and bi-directional communications technology for a staff tracking solution at Instituto do Cancer do Estado de Sao Paulo Octavio Frias de Oliveira - ICESP, part of the "Sistema FMUSP-HC" system, which is the largest public cancer treatment center in Latin America. The hospital, which spans 28 floors in a building located in the heart of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will use the Ekahau technology to track response time to patients who are in cardiac arrest or when their conditions quickly become unstable.
Ekahau RTLS is the foundation of ICESP's custom-built software, SIGAME, which was developed by RFsense, a Brazilian RTLS and RFID solutions provider, with the support of Ekahau's local distributor Synergy Tecnologia. SIGAME integrates with ICESP's existing VoIP PBX system, enabling the hospital to manage code occurrences and track all healthcare professionals involved in the process. ICESP is using the solution to comply with Utstein guidelines, an international method for reporting cardiac arrest.
"Our evaluation process on location and tracking technologies started in 2008, and after some research we found that we already had almost 80 percent of the infrastructure needed to implement an RTLS solution for tracking people and medical assets using the existing Wi-Fi network. When we launched our Code Blue/Yellow project in 2009 it was clear that an RTLS solution was crucial to quickly locate professionals in a multi-story hospital like ours. Ekahau was the only solution on the market that could deliver bi-directional communications, essential for healthcare professionals to acknowledge the emergency alerts, and could integrate with our existing PBX system and leverage the existing Wi-Fi network, without requiring significant expense for additional infrastructure, such as portals and exciters," said Erika Yazaki, project manager at ICESP. "The SIGAME solution from RFsense is built on top of Ekahau's platform and enables us to gather information and establish efficiency metrics that would have been much more complicated to do with other vendors' technologies. Since we are a public hospital, it is fundamental to adopt tools which provide a tight control over personnel, assets and processes in order to deliver full accountability to the society."
Ekahau RTLS provides ICESP with valuable information related to the hospital staff's response to Code Blue cardiac arrests, which require a three-minute response time, and Code Yellow situations, when patients' conditions become unstable and require no greater than a five-minute response. When a code occurs, staff members who are near the patient are alerted on their Ekahau T301BD badge tag. Individual staff members, who may be involved in other cases, can reject the call by pushing a button on their tag and the alarm will be escalated to other staff. The badge also provides informational text messages related to the event. All responses are logged in ICESP's database, including when the code was called, where each responding staff member was located at that time, the total response time for each person and the time the code was closed based on staff pushing a button on their tag.
The location and time information in the database enables ICESP to improve their response time and evaluate processes, as well as providing information to show that each emergency was attended to in a timely manner.
"Cancer hospitals can be a challenging environment to deploy an RTLS system. If a solution needs to be hardwired into the hospital, isolating the work areas and subsequently decontaminating them can be quite costly and pose a threat to patient safety," said Clay Chase, vice president of Worldwide Sales at Ekahau. "By using the existing WI-Fi network, Ekahau RTLS was deployed without having to run wires and install additional hardware. Furthermore the system is able to leverage the communications capabilities offered by Wi-Fi that most proprietary systems lack."
Ekahau's staff tracking application with bi-directional paging communications is the first use case being deployed by ICESP. Planning is already under way to leverage the system for tracking and managing clinical assets and for environmental monitoring of temperature and humidity in patient care areas and hospital refrigerators and freezers that are used to store tissue samples and medications.
About Ekahau Inc.
Ekahau Inc. is the industry leader in providing Wi-Fi-based RTLS solutions. Ekahau's customers, including several Fortune 500 companies worldwide, are realizing the benefits of Wi-Fi based location services and innovative Wi-Fi network planning and optimization tools. Ekahau's solutions are being used in more than 300 hospitals around the world, as well as by manufacturing, retail and industrial companies, government agencies and the military. Ekahau partners include wireless software developers, leading system integrators and international OEM partners, who develop and market wireless enterprise applications. Ekahau is a U.S.-based corporation, with headquarters in Reston, Va., and other offices in Saratoga, Calif.; Helsinki, Finland; Tokyo; and Hong Kong. For more information about Ekahau, please visit www.ekahau.com.