"The robots do communicate as they travel down the hallway, and they announce their arrival when they get to a point, and staff are very adept now when a robot arrives at the nurse's station—the staff just grab what they need out of it and send it right back to home, and they go back and automatically charge on the battery stations."
As the Internet of Things rolls out throughout healthcare, it is incorporating the next generation of real-time location services, traditionally used to track critical assets such as wheelchairs or infusion pumps, as well as movements of staff.
At Nemours Children's Hospital, a 100-bed facility in Orlando, Florida, that opened in 2012, the Versus ID badges worn by providers are now integrated with technology provided by GetWellNetwork, which supplies the interactive patient care and entertainment systems for the hospital.
Nemours collaborated with its technology providers to integrate the badges and the patient TVs so that when a provider enters the room, the TV displays a picture of the caregiver plus his or her credentials. "They're able to quickly know, 'That's my nurse; that's who's supposed to be here,' and again bring that sense of comfort, that this person really does belong here and that's who they are," says Jackie Gustafson, director of IT applications at Nemours.
"When we went into the contracting phase with GetWellNetwork, we threw at them a lot of ideas that we had, and they agreed to put up a portion of their own R&D dollars to help move this forward, because it was one of the firsts," Gustafson says.
Another integration links the nurse call system with the Versus badges, so that when a nurse enters a room on any sort of call, including code blues, the badge cancels the call. "They can go immediately to the patient's bedside and begin work without having to stop and cancel that call," Gustafson says. "To be able to just walk in and take care of business without having to cancel the call, or have to work with an alarm going off in the background makes it efficient for the caregiver and reduces disruption to the patient and family."
Another benefit of this integration is that a child who may have befriended another patient on the floor is less upset because the code blue down the hall gets canceled quickly, Gustafson says.