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A comparison of commercial and custom-made electronic tracking systems to measure patient flow through an ambulatory clinic.

Vakili S, Pandit R, Singman EL, Appelbaum J, Boland MV - Int J Health Geogr (2015)

Bottom Line: The proportion of events successfully recorded by the RFID system (83.7%) was significantly greater than that obtained with the IR system (75.4%, p < 0.001).Excluding those data, the IR system successfully recorded 94.4% of events (p = 0.002; OR = 3.83 compared to the RFID system).Both RFID and IR methods are effective at providing patient flow information.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. sharif.vakili@jhmi.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding how patients move through outpatient clinics is important for optimizing clinic processes. This study compares the costs, benefits, and challenges of two clinically important methods for measuring patient flow: (1) a commercial system using infrared (IR) technology that passively tracks patient movements and (2) a custom-built, low cost, networked radio frequency identification (RFID) system that requires active swiping by patients at proximity card readers.

Methods: Readers for both the IR and RFID systems were installed in the General Eye Service of the Wilmer Eye Institute. Participants were given both IR and RFID tags to measure the time they spent in various clinic stations. Simultaneously, investigators recorded the times at which patients moved between rooms. These measurements were considered the standard against which the other methods were compared.

Results: One hundred twelve patients generated a total of 252 events over the course of 6 days. The proportion of events successfully recorded by the RFID system (83.7%) was significantly greater than that obtained with the IR system (75.4%, p < 0.001). The cause of the missing events using the IR method was found to be a signal interruption between the patient tags and the check-in desk receiver. Excluding those data, the IR system successfully recorded 94.4% of events (p = 0.002; OR = 3.83 compared to the RFID system). There was no statistical difference between the IR, RFID, and manual time measurements (p > 0.05 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Both RFID and IR methods are effective at providing patient flow information. The custom-made RFID system was as accurate as IR and was installed at about 10% the cost. Given its significantly lower costs, the RFID option may be an appealing option for smaller clinics with more limited budgets.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic of General Eye Service Clinic: Patients were tracked with RFID and IR technologies as they moved through the clinic. The orange shapes designate the locations of the IR receivers and the green shapes designate the locations of the RFID readers. The blue box designates the location of the return bin. The blue “X” designates the location from which the investigator manually tracked patients. Four exam rooms were used for this trial, labeled 1 through 4 in red. The front desk where check-in and checkout took place is labeled. Waiting areas are labeled
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Fig4: Schematic of General Eye Service Clinic: Patients were tracked with RFID and IR technologies as they moved through the clinic. The orange shapes designate the locations of the IR receivers and the green shapes designate the locations of the RFID readers. The blue box designates the location of the return bin. The blue “X” designates the location from which the investigator manually tracked patients. Four exam rooms were used for this trial, labeled 1 through 4 in red. The front desk where check-in and checkout took place is labeled. Waiting areas are labeled

Mentions: The custom-built RFID readers were installed outside exam rooms and at the front desk, and IR receivers were installed inside the exam rooms, in waiting areas and at the front desk (Fig. 4). Because only a portion of the clinic was used for this study, some participants were tracked through one monitored exam room, some through multiple monitored exam rooms, and some through no monitored exam rooms, depending on the particular participant. All measurements included front desk traffic for check-in and checkout.Fig. 4


A comparison of commercial and custom-made electronic tracking systems to measure patient flow through an ambulatory clinic.

Vakili S, Pandit R, Singman EL, Appelbaum J, Boland MV - Int J Health Geogr (2015)

Schematic of General Eye Service Clinic: Patients were tracked with RFID and IR technologies as they moved through the clinic. The orange shapes designate the locations of the IR receivers and the green shapes designate the locations of the RFID readers. The blue box designates the location of the return bin. The blue “X” designates the location from which the investigator manually tracked patients. Four exam rooms were used for this trial, labeled 1 through 4 in red. The front desk where check-in and checkout took place is labeled. Waiting areas are labeled
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4625437&req=5

Fig4: Schematic of General Eye Service Clinic: Patients were tracked with RFID and IR technologies as they moved through the clinic. The orange shapes designate the locations of the IR receivers and the green shapes designate the locations of the RFID readers. The blue box designates the location of the return bin. The blue “X” designates the location from which the investigator manually tracked patients. Four exam rooms were used for this trial, labeled 1 through 4 in red. The front desk where check-in and checkout took place is labeled. Waiting areas are labeled
Mentions: The custom-built RFID readers were installed outside exam rooms and at the front desk, and IR receivers were installed inside the exam rooms, in waiting areas and at the front desk (Fig. 4). Because only a portion of the clinic was used for this study, some participants were tracked through one monitored exam room, some through multiple monitored exam rooms, and some through no monitored exam rooms, depending on the particular participant. All measurements included front desk traffic for check-in and checkout.Fig. 4

Bottom Line: The proportion of events successfully recorded by the RFID system (83.7%) was significantly greater than that obtained with the IR system (75.4%, p < 0.001).Excluding those data, the IR system successfully recorded 94.4% of events (p = 0.002; OR = 3.83 compared to the RFID system).Both RFID and IR methods are effective at providing patient flow information.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. sharif.vakili@jhmi.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding how patients move through outpatient clinics is important for optimizing clinic processes. This study compares the costs, benefits, and challenges of two clinically important methods for measuring patient flow: (1) a commercial system using infrared (IR) technology that passively tracks patient movements and (2) a custom-built, low cost, networked radio frequency identification (RFID) system that requires active swiping by patients at proximity card readers.

Methods: Readers for both the IR and RFID systems were installed in the General Eye Service of the Wilmer Eye Institute. Participants were given both IR and RFID tags to measure the time they spent in various clinic stations. Simultaneously, investigators recorded the times at which patients moved between rooms. These measurements were considered the standard against which the other methods were compared.

Results: One hundred twelve patients generated a total of 252 events over the course of 6 days. The proportion of events successfully recorded by the RFID system (83.7%) was significantly greater than that obtained with the IR system (75.4%, p < 0.001). The cause of the missing events using the IR method was found to be a signal interruption between the patient tags and the check-in desk receiver. Excluding those data, the IR system successfully recorded 94.4% of events (p = 0.002; OR = 3.83 compared to the RFID system). There was no statistical difference between the IR, RFID, and manual time measurements (p > 0.05 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Both RFID and IR methods are effective at providing patient flow information. The custom-made RFID system was as accurate as IR and was installed at about 10% the cost. Given its significantly lower costs, the RFID option may be an appealing option for smaller clinics with more limited budgets.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus