GeoSense and the future of asset tracking in healthcare

TRIMEDX President of Clinical Asset Management Jim McCoy recently spoke with 24x7 magazine about the launch of TRIMEDX GeoSense and how clinical asset tracking will help health systems address operational and financial challenges. The full interview as it appeared on April 18, 2024, is below.

Summary: GeoSense, developed by TRIMEDX aims to enhance clinical asset tracking by providing precise, room-level location data with high accuracy. The technology is designed to reduce equipment search times, integrate with existing systems like RSQ, and improve operational efficiency in healthcare settings.

Key Takeaways:

  • Improved Tracking Accuracy: GeoSense offers accurate asset tracking by ensuring room-level precision without depending on hospital IT infrastructures.
  • Increased Operational Efficiency: By minimizing the time healthcare staff spend searching for equipment, GeoSense allows more time for patient care and maintenance, thus optimizing both operational and financial resources.
  • Seamless System Integration: GeoSense complements TRIMEDX’s existing technology platforms, enhancing asset management capabilities and streamlining workflows for medical professionals.

24×7 spoke with Jim McCoy, president of clinical asset management at TRIMEDX about the company’s GeoSense real-time location system solution. He leads the company’s clinical asset management and informatics solution that provides clients opportunities for financial and operational improvement within their clinical asset install base.

24×7: How does GeoSense improve asset tracking accuracy compared to traditional methods?

Jim McCoy: The traditional method of asset tracking in healthcare is physically searching for medical equipment. TRIMEDX’s data shows that, on average, biomed technicians and nurses search for medical equipment for one hour per shift. This is time wasted that technicians could spend performing repairs or providing service, or nurses could spend at the bedside with patients.

Most real-time location systems in the past were reliant on hospital networks, which created bandwidth, capacity, and security concerns for many hospital IT teams.

For the 25% of hospitals that have some sort of legacy asset tracking technology, the level of accuracy and precision is variable. TRIMEDX GeoSense device tags consistently communicate with room tags to measure signal strength, and location-refining algorithms dynamically update location to provide room-level precision with over 90% accuracy. All of this is done without relying on the hospital network or IT infrastructure.

24×7: In what ways does GeoSense help health systems manage their operational and financial challenges?

McCoy: There has been a significant proliferation of clinical assets in recent years, which further magnifies challenges around asset utilization visibility. TRIMEDX GeoSense provides the visibility to tackle this growing issue, enabling enhanced utilization and the right-sizing of the clinical asset fleet.

GeoSense helps health systems manage their operational and financial challenges through reduced device search times, improved clinical engineering services, reduced replacement costs for lost devices, reduced rental expenses, and optimized capital planning.

A little more detail on each:

  • Reduce device search times – By knowing where devices are located, clinicians can quickly find what they need. This saves nursing time and improves patient care delivery.
  • Improve clinical engineering services – Technicians can find devices faster and better prioritize their workflows to spend more time performing equipment service and preventative maintenance. This means the devices will have better uptime and better availability for patient use.
  • Reduce replacement costs for “lost” devices – Hospitals lose 10 to 20% of their mobile medical equipment each year with an average device cost of $3,000 (U.S. hospitals lose 10 to 20% of medical equipment every year; Medical Buyer, Aug 28, 2023). These are usually smaller mobile devices that get tossed in the trash or laundry, transferred with patients, or stolen/misplaced. TRIMEDX GeoSense can significantly reduce preventable equipment loss by tracking the equipment location and adding custom alerts to common ingress/egress points to facilitate equipment recovery.
  • Reduce rental expenses – Rental devices have been increasing as hospitals turn to rental equipment to meet increasing patient demand and preserve tight capital budgets. Once rental devices enter a facility, they often aren’t monitored or returned once they are no longer needed—adding unnecessary daily expenses. TRIMEDX GeoSense allows hospitals to track and monitor rental equipment utilization, facilitating prompt return of rental equipment and avoiding unnecessary expenses.
  • Optimize capital planning – Data collected from GeoSense can give insights into utilization metrics and inventory trending data to create a more comprehensive view of when and where equipment is used. This information can help capital planning committees make more objective decisions when validating purchase requests, with the goal of avoiding unnecessary CapEx and OpEx expenditures. Oftentimes, already-owned equipment can be reallocated across sites to address changing needs or excess equipment can be virtually tagged as part of a shared stockpile, encouraging resource-sharing across departments and sites.

24×7: How does GeoSense integrate with TRIMEDX’s existing data and technology platforms?

McCoy: TRIMEDX GeoSense integrates data and technology seamlessly with our CMMS platform, RSQ. This allows technicians to easily see what room devices are in and locate them quickly for service. It also allows them to prioritize their workflows to efficiently schedule service without disrupting patient care by avoiding or rescheduling devices that are unavailable or actively in use.

Seamless integration of RTLS data into our CMMS platform (RSQ) is a critical element, as it not only provides insightful asset data for technicians and clinicians but also enables proper RTLS system management. RTLS platforms that are installed and not properly managed do not evolve with the facility and its asset fleet, and therefore, eventually fail.

TRIMEDX GeoSense’s Real-Time Location System (RTLS) data will be available to clients through our Clinical Asset Informatics platform and a client-facing TRIMEDX mobile app. This allows clinicians to search for the nearest devices or check the inventory of PAR or storage rooms.

24×7: What are the benefits of GeoSense for managing clinical assets and improving service delivery?

McCoy: Additional benefits of TRIMEDX GeoSense include improved technician workflow and satisfaction, reduced device search times, reduction of lost devices, and proactive PAR level management.

A little more detail on each:

  • Improved technician workflow and satisfaction with accurate location data that allows for better workflow prioritization. Technicians can service devices by closest proximity or reschedule service for in-patient use devices.
  • Reduced device search times by more than 50%, with over 90% accuracy of room level location data on first search – clinical engineering teams can quickly locate devices for preventative maintenance and repair.
  • Reduction of lost devices to less than 1% of the overall clinical asset inventory with timely and accurate location data and ingress/egress alerts
  • Proactive PAR level management and reduced rounding times for mobile medical equipment teams

24×7: In what ways does GeoSense contribute to cybersecurity and ePHI exposure risk mitigation within healthcare facilities?

McCoy: TRIMEDX GeoSense provides the ability to track individual device location—and combined with other device demographic data, like ePHI capabilities or cyber-risk profiles—health systems have a powerful tool to keep track of higher-risk devices in the inventory. Cyber-risk profiles can change rapidly, and finding vulnerable devices to apply patches or compensating controls is much easier with an accurate and precise RTLS technology. Facility entry points can be configured to trigger real-time notifications if devices containing ePHI leave the building.