An innovative and integrated technology platform from Cox Communications has the potential to help hospitals and medical facilities become more efficient, improve patient care and keep employees safe.
The platform, Cox Prosight, allows hospital staff to track and locate devices and call for security by touching their employee badge if a situation arises. In addition, visitors can use Cox Prosight to help navigate their way through large hospitals with multiple floors and offices.
“The ultimate goal is to create a much better experience for patients, caregivers and families in the hospital,” said George Valentine, executive director of new growth and development for Cox Communications.
Valentine said a key component of Cox Prosight is device tracking. Each device is equipped with a digital tag. Using the platform, hospital staff can use that tag to locate the device to within a few feet of its actual location.
“A nurse can spend up to 30 minutes or more on a shift looking for equipment,” Valentine said. “They would rather spend that time caring for patients instead of looking for assets. That’s a big driver of why we are doing this.”
Valentine said the tracking can also result in significant cost savings for a hospital, meaning those funds can instead go toward patient care.
“An average 150-bed hospital loses about $700,000 a year in medical equipment,” he noted. “Sometimes it’s left in an ambulance or with a patient. Sometimes things get stolen or lost. That number could easily be over a million dollars for a larger hospital. We want to help them try to save that money by helping them know exactly where their assets are at all times.”
Lafayette hospital sees immediate success
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center, the flagship hospital for Ochsner Lafayette General health system, became the first major hospital to implement Cox Prosight when it began using the system in early August. Within just two months, clinicians there have noticed they are saving time by using device tracking to locate equipment, rather than walking through multiple floors and rooms to find what a patient needs.
“Instead of searching for devices for 45 minutes to an hour, they are able to find the device and have it brought to where it is needed in five or 10 minutes,” said Michael Dozier, Vice President for Ochsner Lafayette General. “That means more time for clinicians to be at a patient’s beside or in the nursing unit.”
Dozier said the hospital has seen particular success with locating IV pumps, which are needed for many patients and cost about $10,000 each. In addition, nurses have been able to more easily locate bed lifts when a patient needs one.
“We only have a handful of those in the facility, so before we were using Cox Prosight, people were having to call every unit and search rooms and hallways,” Dozier said. “Now we have tags on them that allow us to find the bed lift they need within five feet of where it is. That’s been incredibly useful for our nurses and biomed team.”
Valentine said the digital tagging can also help hospitals ensure that all equipment follows the appropriate maintenance and cleaning schedules and is stored in the proper locations.
“They can optimize a device’s route through the facility,” he said. “We can alert the biomed staff that there is equipment that needs to be cleaned so they can actively start doing preventative maintenance and cleaning versus waiting on someone to tell them that equipment needs service.”
Valentine added that Cox Prosight can give hospital leaders better insight into how many specific devices they have on hand and their locations. This can help them decide whether they need to order more devices or reallocate them more efficiently.
“A health care system may often feel like they need to buy more equipment. Sometimes, that is the case, and sometimes they have plenty of it but can’t get it to the right unit,” he said. “With the data we have, we bring clarity to those decisions.”
Alert system gives staff quicker access to security
Another key component of Cox Prosight is the ability to equip employee badges with a small button that can be pressed when that employee is in duress. Valentine said the idea was prompted by the fact that as many as 75% of nurses across the country experience physical or verbal abuse on the job each year.
“We want them to be able to get the support and security they need when a situation is beginning to escalate,” Valentine said. “I think it will give a lot of peace of mind to staff who are worried about these types of issues.”
Dozier said Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center plans to roll out this portion of Cox Prosight in November and December. The button will let security know the employee’s exact location in the hospital, meaning they will be able to receive help in just a few minutes. Without such a system, Dozier said it’s possible that security may not learn about a problem for several minutes, or perhaps not at all.
“Every hospital in the country has seen problems with violence and behavioral health issues,” Dozier said. “We’re really excited about the opportunity to keep our employees and our patients safer. This will allow us to have wall-to-wall coverage anywhere in our facility because when someone pushes that button, it will let security identify their location within 10 feet. I think this is something that every hospital is going to have to adopt in the future to promote safety and security.”
Cox Prosight also includes a wayfinding feature to help patients navigate large buildings that may be unfamiliar to them. Using indoor GPS and a mobile-friendly design, the feature lets patients pin their current location, then gives them turn-by-turn directions to the office or unit they need to visit. Valentine noted that Prosight was designed with end users in mind, so the system is as easy as possible to use.
“We built our solution to be mobile-optimized on day one,” he said, noting that most people have a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device in hand. “We want everything to have a consistent look and feel. Making it accessible for everyone and using real-time location services was huge for us.”
Valentine said the company is in talks with hospitals across the country about implementing Cox Prosight in their facilities. But he also believes the platform could eventually be used in places like surgery centers, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
“All of these facilities are looking to get more efficient and produce better patient experiences, and we think we enable both of those things,” he said.
Dozier said he is open to using Cox Prosight at other Ochsner Lafayette General locations. But based on the initial feedback and improved efficiency, he believes the platform is poised to be a long term success for Ochsner Lafayette General and other health systems across the nation.
“Just in terms of the device tracking, the amount of money that is wasted through lost equipment and not being able to find equipment is staggering for any health system,” Dozier said. “We believe it is going to save us several hundred thousand dollars a year. Those are dollars we are going to be able to reinvest toward patient care. Other health systems likely have the same problems, so they should realize those are lost dollars that they could be using elsewhere.”
For more information on Cox Prosight, visit www.coxprosight.com.