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Making Medicine Wireless at Cisco, While Keeping Costs Down

- December 13, 2010 - 1 Comment

We’ve shown you how wireless can break down borders, making your organization more efficient and agile. Today, I wanted to take a moment and share how we’ve been using our own technology to provide world-class medical care to our employees and their families. In this case study, you’ll see how our on-site medical facility, the LifeConnections Health Center, is using the Cisco Unified Wireless Network with our Context-Aware solution to save $140,000/year while improving care.

Founded in 2008, the LifeConnections Health Center began its life with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network and a suite of mobility services, including wireless patient check-in, Cerner electronic medical records and e-prescribing, while temperature monitoring and asset management remained manual processes. “Our nurses had to keep paper logs of our refrigerator temperatures, checking them twice daily to make sure vaccines and lab samples preserved their efficacy,” says David Lees, Cerner clinic manager. “It was also challenging for us to keep track of our medical devices and equipment.”

To solve these issues, LifeConnections leveraged their existing wireless infrastructure to deploy the Cisco Context-Aware Solution with the AeroScout RFID tracking solution. “With this solution, we were able to easily add the temperature monitoring and asset tracking capabilities we needed into our existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network,” says Uma Desiraju, IT manager. “Leveraging our wireless infrastructure for these new services is enabling us to achieve a nine-month ROI.”

Today, the LifeConnections staff are able to monitor both refrigerator and ambient temperatures from wherever they are. Temperature tags, placed inside of the center’s five medical refrigerators, as well as in various rooms throughout the facility, send readings to the Mobility Services Engine every five minutes. When a temperature is out of range, a real-time alert is sent via text or email to the appropriate staff member’s Cisco Wireless IP phone, enabling immediate problem resolution.

As a result of deploying the Cisco-Context Aware Solution, the center is now able to monitor temperatures 24x7x365, ensuring vaccines and lab specimens are never at risk. “By automating temperature monitoring, we’ve already prevented the loss of $15,000 worth of vaccines, eliminated the possibility of human error, and surpassed compliance guidelines. Our estimated potential savings per year is over $140,000, including $106,000 in vaccine replacement costs. We’ve also saved $35,000 in nurses’ time, increasing our focus on patient care,” says Lees.

By tracking medical devices, the center can prevent the loss of expensive equipment while further improving caregiver efficiency. The Mobility Services Engine automatically tracks all wireless devices, including laptops, eClipboards, wireless IP phones, and the new temperature tags. RFID tags make it possible to track medical equipment, such as EKG machines, crash carts, and wheelchairs. Using Aeroscout MobileView on the wireless IP phones, staff members can search for assets and receive alerts if equipment is moved outside of particular zones. “Quickly locating a device, like an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator), during an emergency can mean the difference between life and death,” says Lees.

Going wireless means much more than convenient access to the network, it can transform your organization and the way you operate. The LifeConnections Center was able to provide better, more efficient care while protecting patient’s health and their investments. How could you take advantage of these technologies?

Learn more about the Cisco 3300 Series Mobility Services Engine or read the full case study.


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  1. It's amazing how the innovations in technology can have such great effects also in medicine. Hopefully in this way people from poor countries will be able to benefit from medical care.