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Real Time Location Systems

Sonitor Technologies is a leading provider of Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) solutions and develops, manufactures and supplies a proprietary ultrasound indoor positioning  system (IPS) that automatically tracks with 100% room or sub-room accuracy the real-time location of moveable equipment and people in complex indoor environments, such as hospitals.  Sonitor Technologies’ RTLS technology is designed for seamless integration with third party applications software and integration solutions.

P-Tag – For Patients and Personnel

The Sonitor® P-Tag has been designed using feedback from hospital personnel, specifically to be worn by patients and personnel.  The unique construction consists of a reusable electronics core and a disposable, single use (and waterproof) outer shell which makes the P-Tag safe, comfortable and economical to use.

Design

The low-cost, single patient disposable shell eliminates infection control issues, and the reusable core allows for repeated use of the electronics components.

P-Tag Core

The core contains the electronic circuitry for the Sonitor ultra-sound-based indoor positioning system (IPS).  Protected against possible infectious contamination by the disposable outershell, the core is designed for repeated use without the need for cleaning.

P-Tag Shell

The disposable shell is designed for single patient-use.  To eliminate battery handling concerns, disposable batteries are already installed.

The materials and shape have been chosen for wearable comfort as well as easy attachment and removal by authorized hospital personnel.

Use

The P-Tag clam shell snaps easily onto, and becomes safely attached to, any standard patient wristband, or similar band or lanyard.  Opening the disposable shell to remove the core requires a special tool, and renders the shell useless, thus preventing reuse of a potentially contaminated shell.

The removed core is now immediately ready for repeat use inside a new shell.

E-Tag – The Multifunctional Tag

The Sonitor® E-Tag is a small battery powered wireless device to be affixed to moveable objects for tracking purposes as part of Sonitor’s Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS)

Functionality

When moving and/or at present intervals the Tag transmits its own identification code using ultrasound.  A Sonitor Receiver (microphone) hears and transfers the Tag ID-code to the Sonitor Software Server which stores the Tag’s location and time-stamp information in its database.

Architecture

The Tag circuitry is activated by its built in motion sensor, a timer, or by one of the optional signal buttons or tamper sensors switches.  Otherwise, the circuitry is in a battery saving “sleep mode.”  Before entering a sleep mode, the Tag will transmit a few special signals indicating that the Tag no longer is in motion.

Battery Life Expectancy

Battery life expectancy is dependent on motion and transmission intervals.  The Tag-E battery will last for approximately 600,000 transmissions for typical hospital settings.  The battery power status is transmitted as part of each signal and enables low battery warnings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The Tag is designed to be cleaned and disinfected by procedures use for other electronic patient care equipment using normal hospital cleaning detergents and disinfectant solvents.  The Tag can be sprayed or rinsed off followed by a wipe-down.

Attachment

All versions of Tag-E can be attached to equipment surfaces with double-sided tape.

S-Tag – for Hospital Staff

The Sonitor® Staff Tag is small and lightweight and integrates seamlessly with existing personal identification badges through a variety of attachment accessories

The S-Tag is developed in close cooperation with leading healthcare information technology providers and their hospital clients.

Design

The Staff Tag complements Sonitor Technologies’ existing tag solution offering for patient (P-Tag) and equipment positioning (E-Tag).  It has been designed with the healthcare worker in mind, focusing on wearability, hygiene, long battery life and reliability.

The Staff Tag features two buttons and a multi-colour LED that enables the wearer to communicate requests or status remotely, thus saving time and enhancing workflow.

Sub-room location benefits

As with all of Sonitor’s tags, the new S-Tag also takes advantage of the hallmark room and sub-room location performance delivered by Sonitor’s ultrasound based Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS).

High Definition locating of staff members enables automatic functions such as:

  • Nurse presence and nurse-call cancellation
  • Logon/logoff access to patient information
  • Access control
  • Workflow support

Interaction and association event monitoring and other advanced functions are contained in the application software developed by Sonitor’s RTLS solutions partners.

Healthcare

Equipment Tracking

Improved workflow, patient flow and a lot of time saved are some of the benefits obtained when hospital staff always knows where their moveable equipment is located.

By tagging high cost patient care items the utilization can be improved, allowing reduced inventory and rentals.

To be able to easily locate equipment is important:

  • Safety reasons; preventative maintenance and equipment recalls
  • Regulatory reasons; required by regulatory agencies
  • Utilization reasons; ensuring equipment is available when needed and right sizing the equipment pool
  • Financial reasons; asset management and accountability
  • Efficiency reasons; effective use of nursing and staff time

Taking it a step further, the location information can be used by applications which can associate objects like patient and nurse, patient and room, patient and equipment, etc.

An ultrasound based RTLS solution supplies location aware hospital application software with accurate and reliable location data.

Patient Tracking

Always knowing where patients are saves hospital staff a lot of time and improves workflow, patient throughput, resource management and patient safety.

Benefits

  • Reduced time searching for patients, allowing more time for patient care or other value added tasks
  • Significant improvement in work flow, patient flow, job satisfaction, patient satisfaction
  • Better and easier JCAHO compliance
  • Automatic recording of associated location based and time-stamped events as input for treatment and/or patient safety records, e.g. patient with equipment and/or patient with clinician

Homecare

IPS in homecare – feeling safe at home longer

In the next few decades the amount of elderly people will increase dramatically and – for the first time in history – exceed the number of juniors.  As a consequence the demand for healthcare workers and retirement homes will explode.  This challenge forces us to look at new ways to take care of our elders.  New technology and new uses of technology are important parts of the solution, for example by making it safe for the ageing population to live at their own familiar homes longer.

The number of seniors over 80 will increase by 50% from 2007 till 2030.  The socioeconomic challenges are significant.  The future needs of manpower in welfare services are not possible to meet with today’s solutions.  There is a great potential in using ICT to enable seniors to live independently and healthy for a longer period of time.

Most of us wish to live in our own homes for as long as possible, and research shows that seniors who live at home, with their own familiar things and surroundings, stay healthier – both physically and mentally – than people of the same age living in retirement homes.

Need for Safety

So why doesn’t’ every senior stay at home as long as they are physically and mentally fit to do so?  The answer is very often a sense of lack of security.  Their own, or their relatives’, fear of something happening to them, without anyone being around to help.  It simply feels safer to be somewhere where there are people and nurses who can help you if anything happens, even if the price to pay is loss of personal independence and freedom.

New Technology and new use of technology

A retirement home does not need to be the answer.  Existing technology can offer the necessary safety to offer peace of mind both to the elderly resident herself and her relatives, without bringing the sense of being watched.

Sonitor Technologies’ USID technology is already used in hospitals to locate and track patients.  The same technology can be used to identify the movements – or lack of movements – of the senior resident.  As long as the movements and locations registered by the ultrasound Receivers are within the frames of what is defined as normal, the system is idle.  If a situation not considered normal occurs, information – or an alert – can be automatically sent through standard communication networks to relatives or a home care or security call central.

Situations that would trigger an alarm would typically be:

  • Fall (resident by the floor for more than a certain amount of time)
  • Irregular movement pattern (leaving home at night, not getting out of the bedroom at the usual time, etc)
  • Lack of movement
  • Active alert (resident has pushed the alert button)

Additional Features

It is possible to imagine that the movement information is combined with other security solutions in the home.  An example is warning the resident if leaving his or her home while the stove is on, or leaving the bathroom with the faucet on.

With a robust and reliable home care solution offering a true feeling of safety, living home longer will be an easier choice – both for resident and relatives.