Healthcare employee walking up a flight of stairs

How Real-Time Location Systems Enable Continuity of Care During COVID-19: A Case Study with TPIRC

There are many components in healthcare that help to ensure patient-centered outcomes, including continuity of care. When the pandemic hit, it tested pressure points and intensified systemic impediments to in-person treatment, especially for those with chronic conditions. Providers knew that to protect patients, they must first protect employees and do so in a way consistent with their missions.

One institution, Translational Pulmonary and Immunology Research Center (TPIRC), converges big data and big medicine to develop cutting-edge, individualized treatment protocols for those suffering from rare diseases. When the pandemic hit and created barriers to care, TPIRC turned to its philosophy of supporting patient need through technology. TPIRC used a real-time location system to enable contact tracing, safeguarding the health and safety of more than 20,000 patient visits and counting.

What can be learned from TPIRC’s technology-driven approach?

TPIRC – Leveraging Real-Time Location System Technology in Healthcare

Rare diseases, often referred to as orphan diseases, are defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Despite the name and definition, there are an estimated 7,000 known orphan diseases that affect as many as 25-30 million Americans in total. Research and treatment of orphan diseases is important not only for the health and well-being of those affected, but can lead to the discovery of components affecting other, more common diseases and the development of therapies to treat them.

Since 2015, TPIRC has dedicated itself to helping those suffering from orphan disease through innovative methodologies. For TPIRC, technology is in its DNA, and it’s utilized to uncover and analyze millions of datapoints that pave the way for advancements in care. Maintaining continuity of care is imperative for patients in treatment for rare diseases, so when COVID-19 made its way into the U.S., TPIRC faced an immediate challenge related to continuity of care for its patients and the ongoing safety for its on-site staff. A rapid shift was needed to ensure no interruption of service for the thousands of patients who require regular visits to a treatment or diagnostic center, and TPIRC looked once again to technology to solve a complex problem.

Based on best practice guidance, the new environment would need tools and protocols to support tracking, tracing and testing for COVID-19 in people and on surfaces to create a “COVID-safe zone.” HID Location Services for Workplace Safety, a real-time location system, underpinned the digital healthcare solution connected to a scalable, secure IoT ecosystem creating a robust contact tracing solution. With the integration of a complete digital trail of staff, patient and visitor whereabouts and interactions into the organization’s Infectious Disease Awareness Platform (IDAP), TPIRC was able to monitor compliance with staff decontamination protocols and hand hygiene requirements, as well as promote effective management of social distancing in compliance with public health guidelines. The result? TPIRC has safeguarded 20,000 patient visits since the pandemic began in 2020.

The Future of Healthcare and Real-Time Location Systems

The number one priority of any healthcare institution is patient and staff safety. Today that means protecting against the added risks of COVID-19. Tomorrow, the threat landscape may change. Real-time location systems such as HID Location Services offers a number of uses cases beyond contact tracing and social distancing, including resource optimization of linen services, electronic visit verification, and medical device location and management. Automating the collection of data from hospital to home, for clinicians, patients and medical devices, means saving time, reducing errors, lowering costs and improving healthcare outcomes — along with the ability to quickly pivot to confront the next challenge. A people-first approach may well mean a digital-first mentality to guard against those unforeseen and unpredictable obstacles to higher quality care.

For more information, read the complete TPIRC case study. You can also browse additional resources to learn more about reducing human error in healthcare operations and medical equipment management and smart healthcare operations.

Richard Aufreiter, VP Product Marketing, HID Global is driving HID’s diverse and flexible portfolio of identification technologies across frequencies and applications. With vast expertise in RFID/NFC, encryption systems, PKI, biometry and mobile security, he brings over 20 years of leading product management and engineering in the IT and RFID industry.