RFID Helps Make Avera "Most Wired" & "Most Wireless"

RFID HospitalThe Versus Real-time Locating System (RTLS) has been in use at Avera McKennan Hospital since 2003 for nurse call automation and 2006 for enterprise asset tracking. However, patients and staff recently began to experience the power of the Versus Advantages solution as it relates to patient flow and clinical workflow automation.

Established in 1988, Versus Technology, Inc. specializes in real-time location systems (RTLS) for healthcare. Used for enterprise patient tracking, bed management, asset tracking, and nurse call automation, Versus Advantages™ improves patient flow and documentation of caregiver and patient interactions, while enhancing communication and efficiency. Exclusively endorsed by the American Hospital Association, the Versus Advantages infrared (IR) and Active RFID solution is responsible for clinical-grade location and automation at a number of hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities worldwide.

This summer, the Avera Surgery Center opened its doors to their new, state-of-the-art facility. Located on the fourth floor of the new Avera Cancer Institute, the Surgery Center has a separate entrance and is also connected via skywalk to Avera McKennan hospital. Here, Avera implemented an automated patient flow module from Versus that helps patients progress through their visits in a timely, well-structured fashion. It also enables greater communication among staff -- while requiring less effort.

"Staff and patients really appreciate the locating system," explains Daren Smith, Director, Avera Surgery Center. ""It just gives them a feeling of control. Everyone knows when you have surgery, you have so little control. So this gives patients and loved ones an opportunity to see what's happening and it gives us an opportunity to run a more efficient process because we always know where patients are at, too."

The original RTLS implementation from Versus has been a catalyst for efficiency and improvement throughout the organization. In addition to the existing applications, Avera is currently extending the outpatient Surgery Center workflow tools to the hospital's main operating room. In 2011, they plan to implement RTLS-based workflow management within the ED, and, once Avera finalizes plans for the Cancer Institute, they are poised to add automated patient flow functionality to the patient care areas that would benefit from process automation.

The Versus Advantages solution at the Surgery Center was featured in the Avera Medical Minute produced by ABC-affiliate, KSFY. "Our relationship with Avera is deepened by our mutual commitment to the patient experience," says Paul Timmerman, VP, Versus. "After seven years with Avera, Versus is still preeminently positioned as a safety and satisfaction tool within their care environment. What better way to demonstrate our dedication to healthcare?"

Notably, Avera was recognized by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine as a 2010 "Most Wired" and "Most Wireless" facility. They are the only health system to receive this recognition each year since the award's inception.

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