The Value in Leveraging Mobile Devices for Indoor Tracking

healthcareTechnology has always been front and center in the healthcare market, so it would come as no surprise then that Smartphone technology has found a place here, as well. Patient and employee safety is a continuous focus for healthcare facilities, whether these people are located in in a hospital, doctor’s office or rehabilitation center.

Did you know that a Smartphone, in conjunction with the appropriate app, can provide indoor tracking of an individual? This can become valuable information, especially when it comes to pinpointing the exact location of a nurse or other hospital employee in the event of a safety issue.

There are many uses for a Smartphone in these instances, such as a duress button to detect where to send a response team if an employee is at risk or with a nurse call arrival notification to confirm that a nurse arrived at the same room as the call. Smartphones can help display patient records or medication information upon a nurse entering a room.

Several technologies are now being leveraged for indoor location and navigation, but how do you know which is the right solution and for which applications? Bluetooth Smart (BLE) beacons, for example can be placed at strategic locations so that when the phone passes within a few feet of the beacon it reads its signal and registers that ID as its current location. Energy efficient, Bluetooth Smart Beacons can be detected even when a phone is in standby mode.

However, the downside is that BLE does not provide explicit room location information that you may be after. And, because of its high frequency it introduces unexpected signal strength behavior, which result in an inability to determine range. This means that you cannot tell for sure if a person has actually entered a room.

healthcare tags collage p3 07 na vHowever, by incorporating a wearable Elpas tag in conjunction with RTLS technologies, the reliability increases considerably thereby increasing possible uses to include personal emergency response.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of these various technologies, including WiFi via trilateration, accelerometer and compass and low frequency beacons thanks to a wearable BLE tag? And how does their future look as a mobile tracking solution in the healthcare market?

To learn more, sign up today for Tyco Security Products webinar on Tracking Mobile Devices Indoors on Wednesday, May 13 at 10 a.m. EDT.

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