Purpose: To present the infrastructure and technologies of an indoor RTLS system and its applications in a radiation therapy facility to improve patient safety and clinical workflow.
Methods: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology was utilized as the foundation of the RTLS system. As sensors 384 Raspberry PIs were installed throughout our 136,000 sf facility which is divided into 363 zones. BLE beacons carried by subjects (patients, staff and devices) transmit BLE signals that are detected by nearby sensors. Variations in received signal strength due to distance and building structure form a unique pattern that is classified by an artificial intelligence based algorithm to tell a beacon’s location. Based on the location engine infrastructure, a suite of RTLS applications were developed to improve clinical operations.
Results: Through iterations of R&D, the RTLS system achieved a 99.9% location accuracy at zone level after it was trained. To meet clinical needs for better practice, eight applications were developed: 1) the beacon registration and asset management tool; 2) the Live Map that indicates live locations of subjects on floor maps; 3) the location search engine; 4) the electronic checklist that locates and verifies patients and accessories; 5) the MR safety surveillance system; 6) the attendance logging; 7) the timing tool for improvement of workflow efficiency and patient experience; 8) a set of data analytics and reporting tools. Since deployed in 2018, RTLS has made it more efficient to locate and verify patients and devices, and reduced wrong or missing treatment device errors from 63 in 2018 to 23 in 2020.
Conclusion: BLE RTLS system is proven to be an effective tool at low cost for care teams to boost patient safety, experience and operation efficiency in radiation therapy clinics, and could be easily adapted to other hospital settings.