Location-Based Services – Getting It Right

RTLS - Getting It Right

by Joanna Wyganowska, VP of Marketing | Infinite Leap

This week, our featured RTLS in Healthcare Community member is Ali Youssef. Ali is a Principal Mobility Architect at Henry Ford Health System, located in Detroit, MI. He is a certified PMP, CPHIMS, and CWNE.

Infinite Leap: Ali, can you share with us why you are interested in Location-Based Services?

Ali Youssef: I am passionate about mobile technologies and how they can help transform healthcare and improve clinical outcomes. Location-Based Services play a strategic role in enabling our hospitals to run better operationally and provide better experience for patients and their loved-ones.

Infinite Leap: What is your biggest personal accomplishment in RTLS space?

Ali Youssef: I led the design and implementation of one of the largest wireless networks in healthcare and our healthcare system won healthcare’s Most Wired Award in 2015. I have many best practices and lessons learned that I would like to share with the RTLS in Healthcare Community.

Infinite Leap: Location-Based Services are becoming more prevalent in healthcare space, but we are not there yet in terms of technology adoption in comparison to other industries. Why is that?

Ali Youssef: Healthcare operates in a unique environment. Anytime we roll out a new technology, we need to ensure it meets HIPAA requirements and government mandates, that it does not put at risk our network security, and what is the most important, that it does not slow down existing processes, as we don’t want to add any additional burden onto our patients and staff.

Infinite Leap: What is, in your view, the biggest value of Location-Based Services?

Ali Youssef: I am a big advocate for the use of Location-Based Services in healthcare as it provides the means to deliver faster, better, and safer care. Just to name a few benefits, this type of technology enables more efficient communication among staff, clinical staff to spend more time at the patients’ bedside, and a better orchestration of ancillary services.

Infinite Leap: What are some common use cases for Location-Based Services in healthcare?

Ali Youssef: Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) can do so much more than asset tracking, which most healthcare organizations are using it for right now. The system can be used for optimizing workflows, automating temperature and hand-hygiene compliance monitoring. It can also support staff safety efforts and emergency preparedness.

Infinite Leap: How can healthcare systems ensure to properly deploy Location-Based Services?

Ali Youssef: To me, the key to get it right is to have the right people on the Steering Committee. They should represent the voices of clinical and ancillary staff. They are the ones who proactively look for new use cases for the use of real-time data and marry them with the appropriate technology solutions. Another important thing is having the right people with the correct skillset working on this initiative. They have to be both technology savvy (e.g. certified by CWNP) and experienced with healthcare processes.

Infinite Leap: Many healthcare systems have dabbed in the Location-Based Services, however they were not successful in seeing an ROI? Any advice for them?

Ali Youssef: You cannot be successful if you don’t have a plan to operationalize the solution. You need to know from the very beginning what key performance indicators you want to track to measure the success of the program, you need to have a plan in place to properly maintain the system. For example, a timely battery swap might seem trivial, however it can make or break your system. And let’s not forget – if you want to see an ROI, you must act on data that the RTLS system provides, and this is often easier said than done.

Infinite Leap: And what is your advice for hospitals just starting with RTLS?

Ali Youssef: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as to be honest, there are only a handful of experts who truly understand Location-Based Services and also get healthcare. So, talk to other hospital systems that have implemented Real-Time Location Systems, join discussion groups, or engage a consultant to guide you through the solution design, implementation, and operational phase of your RTLS initiative.

Infinite Leap: Ali – As we are building our Community, can you please share with us some of your personal interests?

Ali Youssef: As far as interests, I truly enjoy reading, running, and gaming…when I have the time.

Infinite Leap: Ali – thank you again for sharing your RTLS experiences with our RTLS community.

Ali Youssef: My pleasure!

If you would like to share your thoughts and best practices on RTLS, drop me a note – I’d love to chat with you to capture your experiences. www.linkedin.com/in/joannawyganowska