PeaceHealth Saves Millions With RTLS Asset Tracking From Versus

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TRAVERSE CITY, MI--(Marketwire -02/15/12)- Versus Technology, Inc. (Versus) (Pinksheets: VSTI.PK - News) is pleased to announce another expansion of Real-time Locating System (RTLS) services to PeaceHealth's Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. Over the past 7 years, PeaceHealth's staff has been the driving force behind delivering greater value to the organization using the Versus Advantages™ RTLS for clinical automation, improved communication, greater situational awareness and better visibility of patients, staff and assets. The latest RTLS expansions include PAR level enhancements to the facility-wide asset tracking application in place since 2010.

With the equipment tracking application and par level alerts for IV pumps in place, PeaceHealth was able to switch from a lease/rental model to a purchase model for IV pumps. More importantly, even though they reduced their IV pump fleet by 26% (from 923 to 700 units), they were able to ensure the availability of equipment for staff. An ROI study facilitated by Christian Buchsteiner, Healthcare Improvement Engineer, and PeaceHealth Finance has concluded an immediate cost avoidance of about $600,000 and a $2.7 million dollar savings over 10 years for IV pumps alone!

"We knew we needed new distribution process for Infusion pumps and other house-wide small assets like PCA and syringe pumps," explains Buchsteiner. "Initially, we went live with tracking the IV pump location and generating daily replenishment reports twice per day to balance PAR levels. Post implementation, and with the help of Versus experts and PeaceHealth technical resources in HID/CHR, we transitioned our process from a daily replenishing model to a lean Just-In-Time model by designing and implementing a real-time par level management system complete with 'below par level' and 'above par level' alerts for IV pumps to trigger the inventory replenishing and balancing process."

Since go-live (Summer 2011), this new process has been sustained and it has become the standard for asset management. PeaceHealth is currently in the process of expanding the Versus Asset Module to other assets. With each asset brought on-line and following the same "rigger" and method as used for the IV pumps, substantial financial savings are realized and expected.

  • Syringe Pump replacement: $45,000.00 (confirmed and planned)
  • Feeding Pump replacement: $35,000.00 (estimate)
  • PCA Pump replacement: $100,000.00 - 250,000.00 (estimate)

The transition to a reduced inventory model was a hard sell, but was accomplished through the use of the facility's existing RTLS technology and promise to provide an "economy of plenty" to caregivers. Ensuring equipment was available when and where needed required equipment utilization and placement studies as well as some process changes. However, the results have been worth it. Beyond saving millions as described above, other benefits have been realized.

As an example, before the par level alerts were implemented, the distribution department would receive approximately six calls each day for IV pumps and the "noise" and frustration of caregivers who had to "hunt" for pumps was a daily occurrence. Now, calls requesting IV pumps are rare and the "noise" is gone, too. Knowing exactly where equipment is has been a huge benefit to Biomed engineering as well, especially the impact on maintenance turnaround time and reliability.

Below, Buchsteiner explains some of the processes required to achieve automated Par Level Asset Management.

"Our first step was to evaluate our IV pump utilization rate throughout the hospital. To do so, we utilized our Versus RTLS solution to track equipment and to fully understand the existing distribution. This provided the foundation for the standardized equipment distribution model we would create."

PeaceHealth's next step was to add simulation testing, which allowed them to analyze pump flow from where patients first and last use the IV pumps. They realized nurses in gateway areas (where patients come in) were always looking for IV pumps; meanwhile, the pumps would collect in discharge areas. The process was prone to pump "hoarding" and "hunting" -- an unsatisfying and frustrating experience for caregivers. In the past, PeaceHealth tried renting additional IV pumps and increasing inventory to eliminate these frustrations; however, this method only increased expenses without solving the root causes of the problem.

Moving from a system where nurses were forced to search for IV pumps and would sometimes hoard equipment required a paradigm shift. Nurses had to have complete confidence in their ability to find a clean IV pump where it was supposed to be whenever it was needed. "To solve this," Buchsteiner says, "a cross-functional team with nursing involvement and great operational leadership provided by Tim May, our Clinical Lead, and Chris McGuire, our Distribution Manager, validated several options, including centralized and de-centralized distribution and inventory models."

"The team realized that a hybrid model that relied on PAR level management would offer the greatest benefit in alignment with key project objectives. The backbone of this new process was the Versus Advantages real-time asset tracking system, and continued success relies on Versus to support PeaceHealth's processes."

PeaceHealth is the most advanced health system in terms of RTLS application spread and clinical knowledge of RTLS to support patient care and operational efficiency. Learn more about this implementation and other RTLS innovations at the HIMSS annual conference in Las Vegas, February 21st through 23rd.

About Sacred Heart Medical Center
Sacred Heart Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals between Portland and San Francisco and a regional referral center serving as a Level II trauma center for an eight-county region. Key services for the nonprofit hospital include the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute, Neurosciences Institute with a Gamma Knife Center, Gerontology Institute, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and specialized surgical services. Sacred Heart Medical Center has two campuses: RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, and University District, located in neighboring Eugene, Oregon. For more information, visit the RiverBend online press kit at www.peacehealth.org/newsroom.

About Versus Technology, Inc.
Established in 1988, Versus Technology, Inc. specializes in real-time location systems (RTLS) for health care. 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. To learn more about Versus Technology, Inc. (Pinksheets: VSTI.PK - News), our technology and client successes, visit www.versustech.com and take the Advantages Tour.

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