When Does It Makes Sense to Outsource Your RTLS Initiative?

by Houston Klassen, Executive VP, Infinite Leap

I think it’s human nature to underestimate the complexity and effort required to effectively and efficiently do anything. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is: “Everything seems simple until you know enough about it.” Personally, I’ve found myself in this situation when undertaking many tasks around my home. I sometimes can’t bring myself to pay someone to come in and do things that I just have no business doing. Call it ego, call it being cheap, or perhaps just being naïve – regardless of the reason, the result generally ends up causing me frustration, cost, and lost opportunity or time because I took on more than I was capable of doing. In some cases, I’ve been able to muscle my way through and end up with a reasonable, sometimes even satisfying, outcome, but there is no doubt that I’d probably be ahead in most cases by hiring a professional to do the work in the first place.

In my professional life, I find myself dealing with similar situations, except that in this world, I represent the professionals.

In this role, I spend time with healthcare organizations who want to improve operational and clinical objectives through real-time technologies such as RTLS. In most cases, these world-class healthcare organizations are second to none in the delivery of care and if I needed healthcare services, there is nowhere I’d rather be. Yet these same organizations have tasked talented people with doing something that is outside their wheelhouse – managing a technology system and related processes. The result, in most cases, is much like my attempts to plumb a new bathroom, only on a much larger scale – somewhat functional, but way over budget and time.

This is not meant as a knock against any of the great people I’ve met running these programs at hospitals. Truth be told, the people I work with would eventually figure it out. They are all very smart and have been successful at many things so there is no reason to assume they couldn’t succeed with real-time technologies. In many cases it’s just that they have not been provided with the time, training, or resources to be successful. They are not being set up to fail, but their organizations underestimated what it takes to be successful when it comes to deploying real-time technologies. They will all tell you that the projects were more complex than anyone had anticipated and there were more bumps in the road than anyone would find acceptable.

At Infinite Leap, we’ve assembled the most experienced individuals in the industry. Our team are experts in the use of RTLS technologies within healthcare, and we built this team for the sole purpose of creating processes and methodologies to deploy and operationalize real-time technologies for optimal success in healthcare. Without exception, our team will tell you they are great at what they do because they stubbed their toes in projects years ago, and now know how to avoid those obstacles for the clients they work with. Whether they are the technologists, clinicians, business analysts, software or hardware engineers, or IT professionals, they’ve all become the best in the world at what they do – designing, implementing, and optimizing real-time technologies.

Interestingly, most of our clients are organizations that have attempted to manage these programs on their own and have learned through their own frustrations that there is a better way to proceed. These are well-known healthcare institutions that are at the top of the world in their fields but have realized that getting results with real-time technologies is not something they have experience with. They’ve decided that partnering with a professional services company specializing in RTLS is the most cost-effective and fastest way to generate value, and they can focus their resources on the things they are best at.

Admittedly, in most cases these institutions have not made this decision until they reached a level of frustration that forced them into considering a different path. However, these organizations have paved a path for others to use to determine if they would be better served by outsourcing this process.

If your healthcare organization is using real-time technologies, you may be asking how you can determine if outsourcing is for you. Following is a list of questions you might want to ask yourself regarding your RTLS initiative:

  • Do you have more than 3 specific use cases RTLS is being used for (e.g. patient flow, asset management, temperature monitoring)?
  • Do you worry about properly maintaining the health of your RTLS system (server monitoring, alerts management, tag cleaning, batteries management, etc.)?
  • Do you struggle with change management to create value for your healthcare organization?
  • Do you encounter roadblocks with identifying and reporting on the quantifiable value of the RTLS system?
  • Do you have concerns about not being able to justify the existence of the RTLS program or having a clear plan on how to grow the value your RTLS system provides to your organization?

If your answer to even one of these questions is “Yes” or you are not sure how to answer, you should start considering an outsourced engagement as a practical path.

If you are concerned that by outsourcing the management of your RTLS system you will not be able to build your own internal expertise, it is important to find a partner that will teach your team along the way, so you can establish that expertise as well.

And please remember – not all outsourcing engagements need to be long-term or permanent programs. Many times, we can evaluate a project and start you down the right path, then serve as an augmentation to your internal teams.