Parco, Ekahau Demonstrate Wi-Fi Real-Time Location Tracking System

Attendees at the Medical Records Institute’s annual conference were provided the opportunity to participate first hand in an interactive demonstration of emerging technologies used for patient, staff, and asset tracking.

Called TEPR 2006 (Towards the Electronic Patient Record), the conference also showcased advanced clinical information systems, such as that developed and sold by Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS).

Tracking patients in a busy Emergency Department presents a challenge for many hospitals including knowing room availability, when and if a patient has been treated, as well as monitoring a patient’s total time in care. Beyond the Emergency Department, hospitals are also finding added value in tracking patients in other areas of the hospital. To demonstrate these capabilities two leading location/tracking companies, Parco Merged Media Corp. (Portland, Maine) and Ekahau, Inc. (Saratoga, California) partnered with PCTS to showcase the advanced capabilities of RTLS and RFID software by enrolling conference attendees in a live tracking demonstration using the entire exhibit floor as a virtual hospital.

The Ekahau system uses a facility’s existing WiFi or wireless local area network (WLAN) to locate a special transmitter (called an RTLS radio tag). This tag is identified with a person or asset in a developer’s software package. The developer then uses the positioning information from the tag supplied by Ekahau to track it as it moves throughout the facility.

In healthcare, this is extraordinarily important because of mission requirements such as asset utilization, patient safety, and healthcare processes. The ability to use all or part of the existing WiFi network enables the hospital to reduce its costs of implementing a tracking system.

In conjunction with the conference, Parco and Ekahau have completed the integration of the Ekahau Positioning Engine data with the Parco RTLS location system. With this integration complete, a software developer can now use combined location data to drive processes and utilization functions using any industry standard Wi-Fi networks. Currently the system is also certified compatible with proprietary RFID solutions provided by Exavera, Innovative Wireless Technologies, Precision Dynamic Corporation and Parco. Compatible RFID frequencies include 13.56 MHz (passive), 915 MHz (active), 2.4 GHz/ZigBee (active), 2.4 GHz/WiFi (active) and 6.3 GHz/UWB (active).

Companies and individuals interested in learning more about using their WiFi network for location tracking are encouraged to contact Ekahau.