Modern Paging Systems in HealthcareOctober 22, 2020
Nowadays paging system in the health care facility is not only a tool for alarming the staff, but can bring many other functionalities, which significantly improve the comfort of service and safety of patients, bringing at the same time real organizational benefits, and often also savings for the administrator of the facility, in which it operates.
The modern concept of health care, especially noticeable in newly established small and medium-sized facilities, combined with market competition causes a desire to reduce service costs and optimize staff occupancy, and this in turn raises the bar for technical solutions used in such facilities, in order to maintain an adequate level of safety for patients and staff.
Another aspect that should be noted is the fact of a clear increase in the level of expectations of patients residing in health care facilities in relation to the availability of services and quality of service, as well as formal conditions that require the use of such solutions. All this causes, that modern paging systems, apart from meeting the requirements of standards, must ensure increasingly greater availability of services for patients, staff and visitors.
The basis of the system is either wired or wireless structure. In the case of a cable structure, its architecture must be open and provide the possibility of using different types of connection structures, such as LON (Local Operating Network) or LAN (Local Area Network) star structure, and in the best case a combination of these two technologies with wireless communication technology.
As a result, the structure of the system can be freely adapted to the conditions in which it is to be installed and used, not only in terms of connectivity but also in terms of modular equipment, which is selected according to the specific functionality required in the facilities, whether it be room signaling stations, room or nurse terminals, push-button alarm modules, advanced alarm stations, or RFID identification and RTLS location modules.
In the case of a wireless structure, the system architecture is based on an appropriate layout of receivers through which alarm signals can be transmitted to signal stations, nursing stations, or information boards.
While observing the development in paging systems, one should not forget about the issue of service integration with other solutions, which can be helpful in everyday work of hospital staff, and provide patients with higher comfort and safety. These solutions are numerous, from wired and wireless voice communication, through physical security and safety systems to Internet communication in case of distributed structure or home care, as well as real-time identification and location.
Among new and strongly developing services, which can be implemented based on paging system, there are functionalities related to integration of services of already mentioned wireless technologies RFID (Radio-frequency identification), i.e. communication using radio waves to send information to RFID chip, which is an object identifier, and RTLS (Real Time Location Systems), i.e. location system operating in real time.
The possibilities of these technologies fit perfectly into the contemporary model of work and organization of health care, thanks to the enormous possibilities of using and analyzing the information resulting from them. The basic functionalities of the system include localization of personnel and patients, control of patient movement, automation of nurse calls, or property management, as well as extensive tools for analysis of the flow of people and property.
In order to take full advantage of the system’s functionality, it must be designed in an appropriate way, also in terms of the requirements and expectations that the organization places on it. The operation of the system is based on the so-called badges and labels having a unique identifier. These devices in real time send information about their position to infrared receivers or radio receivers installed in the facility.
Using two standards, we combine secure, invisible infrared (IR) with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) communications, and this combination guarantees the most precise locating technology available in healthcare facilities. An organization’s employees, patients, visitors, and property can be located and tracked in real time, directly improving the organization’s operational efficiency as well as patient and staff safety.
In everyday care situations, the system can alert staff when a patient crosses a certain area, such as leaving the ward, in emergency situations the patient can use their key fob to call for help without being in their room, and staff will have precise information on where the patient is and where to direct help.
In such a system all the badges are assigned to specific people, so it is also easy to take the right steps in relation to patients with different diseases. However, for the application of such a solution in a healthcare institution to bring the expected results, in addition to the hardware part, it is necessary to implement appropriate software that will allow for proper management and use of information from the system.
Thus, it can be seen that in addition to basic services related to staff alarming, modern paging systems have much more to offer, and with the combination and integration with other systems present in health care facilities can be a kind of center of service and patient traffic in the health care facility.