FAQs: How useful are indoor location based alerts in the healthcare industry?
Some key answers to the top questions for using location based systems in healthcare settings:
1 What is an indoor location-based alert?
A location-based alert delivers a service to an audience based on their physical location.
In outdoor settings, a person’s location can be pinpointed by using GPS and smart phone signal technology.
Services delivered outdoors can include navigation.
However, in indoor settings the location technology has to be changed because Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are compromised.
2 How do indoor location-based services work?
In general terms information is given to a subscriber based on where they are.
There are several ways that technology can pinpoint the location of a subscriber, and we discussed some of the solutions in our blog here: https://www.briteyellow.com/post/what-is-an-indoor-positioning-system
They include the use of tags or QR codes that can communicate location information to smartphones. That’s known as proximity positioning.
The location of a moving smartphone or similarly Bluetooth-enabled device can be determined by the use of beacons. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons emit signals that can be received and interpreted by smartphones. The user’s position can then be worked out in relation to that beacon.
Wi-fi access points and ultrasound devices can be used in much the same way as Bluetooth Beacons to locate any enabled device.
Visible Light Communication (Li-Fi) devices have their own unique identification, which can allow receivers to determine accurate positions.
Trilateration Positioning involves the computation of a position from signals that have been received from emitters placed in different locations.
Time of Flight (ToF), works like radar or sonar, by bouncing a signal off the receiver, and by measuring the difference between the time it was sent and time it was received.
Ultra-Wideband also provides very accurate positioning by using Time of Flight to compute distances between receiver and emitters.
Fingerprinting Positioning: In this method, the technologies use signal measurements across buildings to compute the position of an object that is moving. It is particularly well suited for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices which emit signals that are stable over time.
Motion Positioning utilises a sensor in a smartphone – the accelerometer – to determine its velocity (speed). When its starting location is known, and its movement is also known, the current location can be computed.
Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) is where an environment is mapped and the location of something is determined at the same time.
3 Which is the best form of indoor positioning system?
It depends on what the customer wants to do with the technology. There are a very wide range of options, costs - and a combination of options - available. The best option is to have a chat with an expert in the field and to decide what the customer needs.
One thing we would say here is to make sure that ultra-wideband is among the considerations as it provides for extremely accurate positioning, which may be a critical necessity for a business. This may be especially the case for healthcare organisations.
4. How accurate are indoor positioning technologies?
It depends on which technologies are employed and how customers wish to use them.
RFID readers can pinpoint the precise location of an access card at one moment in time but may not be so great if customers wish to know the location of a moving object.
There is a need for much more accuracy from indoor positioning systems than outdoor positioning systems.
A difference of 5m in an outdoor setting, say with a navigation app on the road, is acceptable but that difference in an indoor setting would locate a person or an object in the wrong room, or even the wrong building.
Ultra-wideband can provide accuracy to within centimetres, other indoor location technologies provide for metre-level accuracy.
5. How is an indoor location-based solution applicable to a healthcare setting?
If you have something that you need to know the location of, the technology can provide a solution.
That something can be an asset, such as a piece of hospital kit, or a human asset, such as a member of staff or a patient.
6. What is one of the indoor positioning solutions in healthcare settings?
Asset tracking is one idea with great potential in our opinion. If a patient or a vulnerable person can be considered an asset, then that person can be tracked. That might be useful to see if a patient in a hospital has wandered off into another area and become lost, or even if they are at risk of leaving the building.
7. How about solutions in community healthcare settings?
The same principle applies. If an elderly and vulnerable person is living at home, and their regular movements are known, artificial intelligence can warn if they are, for example, lying on the floor after a fall and haven’t moved for a while. The software can send an alert to a healthcare professional, or a relative, to alert them to a potential issue.
8. How can indoor positioning help me to better use my human resources?
After many months of huge amounts of pressure on healthcare workers in hospitals, care homes and in other community settings due to the coronavirus pandemic we appreciate the hard work being done in the sector. We think that the data provided by indoor positioning systems can help enormously in the efficient allocation of resources. Not only can the software be created bespoke to help determine the timing of visits, ward rounds, and calls, etcetera it can also help to react to the inevitable emergencies.
9. Is it possible to use indoor positioning systems to identify and locate physical healthcare assets, such as wheelchairs or cleaning equipment?
Yes, it is. Human and non-human assets can be tagged. If they can be tagged, a system can be set up to determine where an object is. It can be a cleaner looking for a mop, a porter looking for a trolley, or even a nurse looking for a healthcare assistant. There are great possibilities for time, and cost, savings, with this aspect of location systems.
10. How do I find out more?
Tech experts at Briteyellow will be delighted to talk to you about how our bespoke solutions can help your healthcare, or other business. We promise to give you our professional advice on the type of indoor location, tracking, or navigation systems that will be best for your business, and without the hard sell or the impenetrable jargon.
Find out more about Briteyellow's solutions here: https://www.briteyellow.com/
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