At AZ Jan Portaels, Vilvoorde’s general hospital, there are 858 members of staff and 130 specialists. Each year 10,700 patients are hospitalised in the 406 beds. Lots of patients means lots of work. In order to manage things as efficiently as possible, AZ Jan Portaels went out looking for solutions to look after disorientated patients in the geriatric ward, as well as ways to guarantee quality in the storage of medicines, reagents and patient samples. PHI DATA proved to be the perfect partner.
Effective wander detection
AZ Jan Portaels was looking for solutions to a number of different problems. The system already in place to detect people wandering off from the geriatric ward was not sufficiently reliable. Those involved got together to consider what they wanted from a new system, guaranteeing the safety of disorientated patients without taking up too much of the personnel’s time. They came up with a list of five priorities:
- The new system should be reliable
- The alarm should go off as little as possible
- The alarm should go via the DECT
- Only the exit should be monitored
- Closed doors discourage people from wandering off, but at the same time the ward likes to have an open feel.
The solution presented by PHI DATA satisfied their needs perfectly. Doors remain closed under normal circumstances and open automatically as soon as someone approaches, when the person coming closer has no tag. When a patient with a tag approaches however, the door remains closed. The alarm only sounds when someone with a tag approaches the door when the door is already open. When a patient wearing a tag needs to be transported, for example for an examination, personnel use the badge system. In this way the patient is allowed temporary access.
“We are really happy with the partnership”, says Marc Debremaeker, head of the department of Biotechnology and staff member of MICT (medical informatics and communication technology). “Given that we intended to link the solution to other, existing systems, we needed a partner to think it through with us. The small issues which always arise in this type of project were quickly resolved by PHI DATA. Also, the solution does exactly what we hoped. As the alarm only sounds when a patient effectively leaves the department, we can guarantee the safety of our patients without staff losing too much time in keeping an eye on the exit.”
Another factor that convinced AZ Jan Portaels to choose PHI DATA’s solution, is its modularity. In fact, the hospital is already delighted to be taking advantage of this opportunity: PHI DATA was also our selected partner for monitoring the temperature of fridges in the pharmacy, laboratory and in the nursing and consultation areas.
The laboratory was the first to benefit. “In order to conform to the ISO 15189 standard, the laboratory must monitor the temperature of fridges, freezers and incubators. This concerns a total of 34 locations on our site. These locations were all visited once a day to check the minimum and maximum temperatures on the thermometers, but that was time-consuming, inefficient and some problems were identified too late”, says doctor Sonja De Bock, head of the department of Biology. That’s why the laboratory went out looking for an automated system monitoring temperatures on an ongoing basis and issuing a warning when certain pre-determined tolerances were exceeded.
In the end they chose the AeroScout Condition Monitoring solution from PHI DATA. Tags in the fridges, freezers and incubators monitor the temperature on an ongoing basis. If pre-determined tolerances are exceeded then an alarm is sent by mail and DECT. The wireless solution, operating via Wi-Fi, creates an archive as well as monthly reports. Furthermore, it is possible to trace temperatures which are out of tolerance and any corrective measures taken.
Calibration as a service
Once everyone was happy with the tags in all the fridges, freezers and incubators in the laboratory the focus moved to the fridges in the pharmacy and nursing and consultation areas. These quite often contain very expensive medicines and it is the chemist’s job to ensure that these are stored properly until the moment they are given to the patient.
“We created a tender for the job”, says Kim De Gieter, head of the Pharmacy department. “Four suppliers applied. The job was awarded to PHI DATA because they met the criteria best of all. We have bought fifty monitoring tags, and have also chosen calibration as a (managed) service.” Calibration as a service means that, each year, AZ Jan Portaels receives a box full of calibrated tags before the certificate expires, including the appropriate certificates and an overview of the unique codes. All Jan Portaels has to do is swap the tags over, activate the new tags and pack up the old ones and send them back. Each year, upon return, PHI DATA then checks the old tags for any wear and tear. All tags are given new batteries every 2 years. That means that AZ Jan Portaels can be sure that the tags are working correctly at all times.
“We are really delighted with our choice, despite the fact that the roll-out took quite some time, given that all the nursing and consultation areas and operating theatres were involved. Also, the staff involved needed to be informed or trained. However, once everything was set up properly and everyone knew how to use it, the return on investment was quite clear: the wireless Condition Monitoring solution provides automatic reports with clear visibility of temperatures and the duration of any temperature anomalies. That means we can make the right decisions regarding whether medication may still be used or not. Not only that, the collaboration is also very smooth. The people working at PHI DATA can be reached quickly and easily in the event of questions or problems.”