How Hospitals Can Use Interactive Maps for Asset Tracking

March 23, 2018 by Jennifer Gombeski

Hospitals experience a constant flow of patients, medical staff and visitors coming and going from room to room. But often forgotten are all the moving assets, such as beds and heart monitors, that come and go with them. Although these assets were designed to move with patients for an optimal healthcare experience, their mobility can make them difficult to track. However, with the right digital mapping solution and the right data feeds, hospital administrators can finally take control of their asset tracking.

How Does Asset Tracking Work?

Asset tracking is the process of keeping track of the location of every item in your inventory, especially those that are easily lost ormisplaced. In the digital age, asset tracking leverages sophisticated software, tracking devices, and data feeds to handle the entire process digitally. Organizations now use asset tracking to help them with a wide variety of concerns, from inventory to scheduled maintenance.

However, perhaps the most outstanding benefit of asset tracking is that it provides organizations with the precise locations of all their mobile assets. In fact, depending on the type of tracking system you use, you may find that you can track the locations of each of your mobile assets in real-time or near real-time. If an asset is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), then you can view telemetry data in conjunction with location data, resulting in an even richer tracking dataset. A digital mapping solution then pulls all of this tracking data together into a single crystal clear visualization: a breathtaking, interactive digital map.

Hospital Asset Tracking

In 2018, most hospitals in the U.S. have tens of millions of dollars invested in mobile assets ranging from hospital beds to heart monitors to bedside infotainment systems! Yet as these assets move constantly from room to room, hospital staff can easily lose track of them. Nonetheless, some hospital administrators may hesitate to implement a mobile asset tracking and mapping solution for fear of encountering difficulties, such as HIPAA-compliance concerns. However, with the help of the right solution provider, you can quickly, efficiently, and affordably gather and map all the tracking data you need. Moreover, as long as the gathered data does not contain patient information, HIPAA compliance should be a non-issue!

 

To get started, you will want to run through the inventory you wish to track and look for tracking-enabled features. You may find that a significant percentage of your mobile-asset inventory is already equipped with tags or devices specifically designed for asset tracking. However, for those items that are not already equipped with tracking technology, you can easily add RFID tags, customized barcodes, or even radio transmitters compatible with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Building Your Hospital Asset Map

Once all of your mobile assets are tracking-enabled and producing data feeds, it’s time to start mapping their locations! To make this happen, your digital mapping provider will integrate all data feeds from RFID readers, IoT sensors, and other sources of tracking data into your mapping solution. Once integrated, the data feeds will automatically populate your map with the latest location of every tracked asset. If your hospital spans multiple buildings across a medical campus, you can easily expand the scope of your map accordingly. You can even alternate between exterior views of hospital buildings and interior, floor-by-floor views.

Categorizing Your Assets

With hundreds to thousands of mobile assets to track, displaying all of their data feeds at once could make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. To make the process easier, an interactive map built by a best-in-bread mapping provider will include an intuitive sidebar that gives you the power to turn data feeds on and off at will. These feeds will correspond to asset categories (such as medical equipment orhospital beds) that you can view or hide as necessary. By clicking on the medical equipment category, for example, your map will light up with icons specifying the location of each and every tracked piece of medical equipment in your hospital.

Narrowing The Results of Your Asset Tracking Interactive Map

Your interactive map’s sidebar menu is an excellent, intuitive tool for helping you manage your hospital’s mobile assets. It can be as specific as you need it to be. If you’ve chosen to further categorize your mobile assets into subcategories, you can control your results with even greater precision.

For example, you might choose heart monitors from the list of subcategories that appear after you click medical equipment. Then you can see where all the heart monitors you’re tracking are located across your hospital or medical campus. If you’re looking for a particular heart monitor, such as one that has gone missing, you can select it from the complete list of tracked heart monitors that appears after you click the heart monitors subcategory. Heart monitors could be labeled by UPC code, serial number, or a more user-friendly identifier, such as an assigned room. You could either scan the list and click on one, or use your map’s powerful search feature to isolate the heart monitor you’re looking for directly. Either way, a corresponding icon will instantly appear on the map, allowing you to view and zoom in on the missing heart monitor’s precise current location.

The Opportunity For a Public-Oriented Interactive Map

There is another advantage to choosing a digital mapping provider to help you with your hospital’s asset tracking: not only will you have a state-of-the-art, internal-facing map for tracking your assets, but you will have the option of publishing an equally compelling, public-facing map!

Naturally, your public-facing map will display data from a different set of data feeds, such as those relating to parking, dining, and public transportation. Nonetheless, you can fully leverage the breathtaking detail found in the interactive map you’ve already invested in. If you were already considering building a leading-edge public-facing map for your hospital, such as OHSU’s stunning interactive map, this is an ideal time to implement it.

With only minor adjustments, the digital map you use to track your mobile assets will work equally well as a public-facing, online map. When visitors arrive at your facility, an intuitive map they can easily view on their mobile devices will make all the difference as they find their way to their loved ones.

Doesn’t an asset tracking interactive map sound great? It will undoubtedly make tracking all of your hospital’s assets easier, and it will even give you the opportunity for a public-oriented map as well!

Topics: Interactive 3D MapSupport Your BusinessWayfinding

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