An RTLS Redo – a Blessing in Disguise

An RTLS Redo

This month, our featured RTLS in Healthcare Community member is Drew Corbett, Senior Director Infrastructure & Operations at Nemours Children’s Health System.

Infinite Leap: Drew, can you share with us your journey with Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS)?

Drew Corbett: My journey with RTLS is probably a little bit unusual. In my role, I am responsible for managing the infrastructure for our health system. In 2018, we received news that our current RTLS vendor, Awarepoint, was closing its doors, and we had to decide quickly what to do next with our RTLS system. As you probably heard, CenTrak bought Awarepoint’s assets and offered to provide support for a year, giving Awarepoint’s clients some needed time to figure out what to do next. That’s when I was assigned to explore viable options and create a plan for migration of our current RTLS system for temperature monitoring and asset management.

Infinite Leap: What did your organization decide to do?

Drew Corbett:  One thing was certain – we could not go without an RTLS system, as we used it for critical healthcare processes, including automated temperature monitoring and locating mobile medical equipment. Knowing that we needed to find a reliable replacement for our RTLS system and redeploy it within a year, we asked Infinite Leap to assist us in this process.

Infinite Leap: So how did this process start?

Drew Corbett:  We started by taking a deep dive into how the system was currently used by our staff, what staff concerns were, and what their wishes were related to an RTLS system. I have to say that coming from the infrastructure side of IT operations, this was the most critical moment for me. Through a series of user interviews conducted by Infinite Leap, then receiving a report and recommendations on how the RTLS system should be redeployed to meet the current and future needs of our users, we were able to establish a clear path for immediate RTLS system remediation and future expansion to additional use cases our organization has a desire to implement.

Infinite Leap: Once you had a plan in place, what did you do next?

Drew Corbett:  Our organization decided to implement CenTrak’s hardware and software system as a replacement of our current system. We divided our RTLS implementation into two major phases. Phase 1 included installation of the RTLS hardware infrastructure and an RTLS software setup at our Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, and Phase 2 happened a month later at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

Infinite Leap: What was the scale of the RTLS system redeployment?

Drew Corbett:  In August 2020, we performed an RTLS system redeployment which included 6,000 pieces of mobile medical equipment and over 1,000 temperature-controlled units, including low-temperature medical refrigerators.

Infinite Leap: What was the main learning from this process?

Drew Corbett:  The challenge we faced, which was that we were pressed to find a new solution, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The system assessment revealed that we had some significant gaps in proper management of the system, especially when it came to replacing batteries in tags and ensuring ongoing accuracy of the infrastructure. This is why we decided to prevent our new system from a possible deterioration and asked Infinite Leap to provide RTLS program management guidance to assist us with the upkeep of the system, and what was equally, or even more important, generating ongoing and measurable value from the program.

 Infinite Leap: What are some best practices you would like to share with other organizations that are starting or going through a similar scenario as your organization?

Drew Corbett: There are so many best practices to share, including the need to establish a clear responsibility matrix between the IT department, who in our case is the owner of the RTLS system, the end user, such as the Clinical Engineering team, and our managed services provider, Infinite Leap. This process allowed us to ensure that everyone knows what they are responsible for so there are no gaps in the process. Also, another interesting lesson, especially to me coming from the IT side of the business, was the importance of branding and communication. Following the advice of Infinite Leap, and with help of our Corporate Communication team, we named our RTLS initiative “Nemours Sidekick” to highlight that this technology tool is always there for our staff when they need it and is helping them make a positive impact on the lives of our patients. The branding of the program unquestionably helped us with better communication of the objectives of our initiative to our hospital staff, which leads to higher user adoption.

 Infinite Leap: In closing, as we are building our RTLS Community, can you please share with us some of your personal interests?

Drew Corbett: My life passion is traveling. I was born oversees, as my father worked for the United Nations, and throughout my childhood I lived in different parts of the world, including Europe and Asia. These experiences enriched my life and I want to be able to share this passion with my own kids.

Infinite Leap: Drew, thank you so much for sharing your RTLS experiences with our community – it was a pleasure hearing your RTLS story!

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: