Apologies. I would have replied earlier but I have been on site today. I am also reading each reposnse so I may jump around a little.
Roger - As previously mentioned this type of technology (tracking across wi-fi) is very new in the UK, although RFID as a technology has been around for along time. It has taken the NHS years to even accept wireless technology in the Acute environment due to...
1.An assumption that it would interfere with certain types of medical equipement.
2.Initial installation costs were high
3.Justification for wlans was, and is still difficult.
4.Skill set within the NHS is almost none existant, this is purely down to IT departments not investing in staff training etc.
5.The Trust doesn't know why its wants a wlan, and as such the WLAN project will give the perception that it has failed. purely because the purpose of the design it was never really defined.
I have been in ALL of the above positions, and they are very difficult to overcome due to the lack of understanding at the right managment level.
If you look at locating an asset without a tracking solution, then consider the resource to do this.
1. EBME Tech Engineer looking for the asset in Ward A
2. Ward Manager get roped into looking for asset
3. Nursing staff get asked if they have seen the asset, then also start looking.
4. Consultant may have seen the asset in either ward B or ward C, and so the circle continues.
This scenario happens in EVERY hospital in the Country without fail
Hospital solution - Let throw more staff at the problem, and reduce spending on patient care.
1. Ward A staff need Pump
2. EBME dont have a spare one as they are all "in use" (at this point we all clearly know they are not, they are being stored just in case")
3. Ward A calls Wards B and C, but they have no spare pumps
4. Ward A "identifies" and patient that is not so critical, and as such removes that pump and places it on more critical patient.
This causes a risk of cross contamination, and a risk to BOTH patients.
Again this scenario happens everywhere. I have been to a number of Trust who confirm that this happens.
The bottom line is as Tax payers throwing staff at looking for medical equipement is a severe waste of money, and is a short term fix to a long term problem. So you've found it one week, but lost it again the following week.
You want to be able to prove to the Senior management that you dont have enough equipement or resources. But how can you do that if you cannot show any usage of the equipment.
I am not saying that in all circumstances this type of technology is right. The need for it as a complete investment should be taken into account. Throwing one person into the EBME department doesn't help the IT Dept. locate and manage their kit, it doesn't help Porters find the Wheelchairs that they desperately need. Trusts for years have continually bought more un-needed kit becasue they have no information on use, and employ more staff to find it. but each year the trusts are in the same position. So Staff is clearly not the answer and it hasn't worked yet. So why not look at the potential of something different.
A Band 5 Medical Engineer is what around £20,000. To the Trust with on cost which include Pension, annual leave, desks etc it cost closer to £40,000 for ONE Department. now take into account all those members of staff looking for that asset as well. The Trust is now paying nurses, sisters and other Medically trained staff to look for assets and taking them away from Patients.
A location solution will release those staff to resume their original role.
I'm sure that you understand this, and I fully appreciate the issues you all face having worked in an Acute.
Now seeing and hearing the same statements coming from Hospitals around the country, the Trusts that are taking this up will at least have "reports" that we all know senior managers like, these will confirm why they need to go back to Central Government and ask for more money.
oh and Geoff, I am an Engineer and as much as I agree with the "who gives a damn what those Bean Counters think (...can they fix the kit)?" unfortunately they are also the people who will cut the budget if you cannot locate the kit and justify why you need more.
I am also just reading you link you sent me which I appreicate you doing. I have however just seen the dreaded PFI word. Been there, done it....didn't enjoy it
The life if a tag has just been mentioned by Roger. To get a tag to only last for 6-12 months is quite frankly poor configuration. After nearly 6 months of monitoring a site and the usage of assets and tags, based on a config we installed their tags will last for around 4 years. then the batteries are replaceable.
DAS mentioned about the Jama Paper. Although I cannot directly comment on their report, the technology I work with is purely Wi-fi based, and as such has no impact to us. We have made a statement to that affect.
Again guys I appreciate you giving me time, but please be gentle. I still have the mindset of an NHS person.