Patient Tracking Solution – ‘Patient Mantra’ for Apollo Hospitals – RTLS/RFID based

Apollo Hospitals Chennai, India's largest health-care facility, is employing an Icegen Real-time locating system (RTLS/RFID) called “Patient Mantra” to move 250 patients a day through a series of up to 26 diagnostic procedures. Apollo Hospitals is interested in minimizing delays associated with moving patients from one check point to other. In the department-centric world of hospital management, however, one department's needs are not necessarily compatible with another department's priorities. A patient's length of stay depends on effective patient tracking software and Orchestration of their resource plan of care. Length of stay, in turn, has a direct bearing on capacity management and, ultimately, hospital costs and revenues.
ICEGEN's scalable Patient Tracking solution “Patient Mantra” helps in automating above said systems and also in resolving the current bottlenecks.

  • It was very difficult to find out the area which was heavily crowded and Vice-versa.
  • It was literally impossible to find out area where the patient was spending more time in waiting.
  • It was very difficult to find out particular patient at any given point of time.
  • Patients leaving without information to the hospital create issues with regard to appointment with the consultants the next day.
  • Patients with High sugar level were not traceable.
  • The current system did not guide the patient where to go next for performing the test.
  • They gave a print out for performing various tests, it was completely manual and error prone.
The Solution : Process Automated using RFID for patient tracking:
RFID Patient Tracking Solution Live Video
  • Patients are tagged with RFID tags that have a unique identification number at the time of registration.
  • As soon as the patient enters the test room and completes the respective test, the technician will press the RED and the BLUE buttons in the patient Tag; for process start and Process end.
  • “Patient Mantra” will know the location where the patient is and update the backend about the completion of the respective test and approaching the next test.
  • Digital screens installed at each department displays every patient's name, along with the department he or she should go to next.
  • If the patients jump the queue system; the alert will be sent to the floor manager about the specific patients.
  • Whenever the patient moves IN or OUT of the zone, the IDs of the Wi-Fi nodes receiving the transmission from the zone automatically captures the RFID Patient tag data.
  • The movement of the patients is automatically captured in the backend database without any manual supervision.
  • At any point of time an administrator can get the status of a particular patient and the zone in which he is present. Also calculate the concentration level of each zone.
  • End of day reports are generated through the “Patient Mantra” system/Application.
  • If the patient moves out of the marked zone or leaves the hospital with the tag, the ALERT message will be sent to the security at the gates and also to the systems in charge via: SMS, Email etc.
The ICEGEN RTLS system -“Patient Mantra” has enabled the hospital to improve the flow of patients through the process, and to save each patient hours of time that previously may have been spent waiting for a procedure to take place. The deployment is expected to not only shorten the time patients spend at the hospital, but also allow the facility to serve more patients each day, due to the added efficiency it provides.

Apollo was the first of India's hospitals to provide a “package” consisting of all of a patient's annual health-care diagnostic needs in a single day called Annual Heal Check -“AHC”. Rather than undergo each procedure at a separate location and at a different time of the year, a patient can schedule a series of procedures to be held on the same day at the hospital. Once annually, each patient arrives at 7 a.m. and proceeds through as many as 26 procedures, by moving from one department to the next. Those may include blood tests, x-rays, echocardiograms, sonograms and mammograms, in order to measure the patient's health.

However, because of the hospital's size, as well as the large population of the community it serves (there are 3.5 million people living in the city of Chennai alone), the number of patients is large-about 250 each day-and managing their movements throughout the many departments was a challenge. Patients were not always clear which department they should report to next, they could end up waiting unnecessarily in the wrong area, and bottlenecks were often created by too many patients in one location and not enough in another, thereby leading to delays. Although the procedures begin at 7 a.m. and should be completed by about 11 or 11:30 AM, patients were often still in the hospital until 3 p.m. or later, which placed limits on the number of people who could be served during a given day.

The Icegen system and solution - “Patient Mantra” consists of active RFID tags for each patient, Wi-Fi nodes to read those tags, Icegen software to interpret and manage the read data, and digital monitors to display directions to patients. The system transmits data from Ekahau 2.45 GHz RFID tags to 14 Cisco Wi-Fi nodes, which Icegen and Cisco installed throughout the diagnostics portion of the building. Information from the nodes-the tag's ID number and its location based on the IDs of the Wi-Fi nodes receiving the transmission-is then forwarded to Icegen software known as “Patient Mantra”, residing on the hospital's back-end database, which interprets location data and links that information to the existing patient-management software system that Apollo uses to manage data related to patient visits and billing

The Solution : Process Automated using RFID for patient tracking:
Hospital managers signed onto the “Patient Mantra“ system can view a map showing where each patient is located in the hospital, which procedures for each patient still need to be performed, and the number of people waiting in each area. The software can also alert the staff if a particular section is too congested, enabling managers to move patients from one location to another, or to rearrange future schedules. It also identifies the location of the ID number for each patient, and compares that data against that person's expected location. If he or she is in the wrong area, management can be alerted and can determine how to proceed-for example, they can decide whether a staff member needs to redirect that patient to the proper station. At the same time, video screens installed at each department display every patient's name, along with the department he or she should go to next.

When a patient registers at the hospital for services, he or she is given a lanyard with a RFID Tag containing a unique ID number, linked in the “Patient Mantra” and Apollo back-end software to the patient's name and health-care information. At the registration desk, the patient is given a schedule of appointments, listing all of the departments he or she needs to visit, and is informed which department to visit first. The RFID tag has three buttons, and a staff member presses one of them in order to activate the tracking of that patient. Anywhere that individual goes within the diagnostic procedure portion of the hospital, he or she can be tracked using the Wi-Fi system. For instance, when the patient goes to the blood department, the system knows when he or she has arrived based on the tag ID reads, and can then determine that the individual is waiting there for services. If it should only take 15 minutes to be seen in that department, the Icegen software “Patient mantra” will display an alert on a PC being monitored by hospital management, indicating when a patient has been waiting for longer than the expected time span. Management can then instruct employees to redirect some patients, or to use the data to adjust future scheduling to improve traffic flow.

Once the patient is being seen for a particular service, such as a blood draw, a hospital worker presses BLUE button on that person's tag to indicate that the service has begun. After the service is complete, the employee presses RED button on the tag. At this point, the software displays which department the visitor should go to next. The patient's name and the next department of service are then displayed on the digital screen mounted in every department, to help direct the patient to the correct area of the hospital. If the patient were to miss this information and proceed to the wrong department, the “Patient mantra” can adjust for that discrepancy, permit the service to take place (unless it was already provided to the patient on that day, or if it is not required for that patient) and the software will again instruct the patient, on the screen, to visit the next appropriate department.

The system is set up for other exceptions as well. If a patient decided to leave the hospital before completing scheduled services, the system would detect that a tag was out of range of the Wi-Fi nodes, and a computer screen would display an alert to a security guard at the exit door. The guard could then intercept that person as he or she walked through the exit, and redirect that patient to the proper location. If someone who had completed all of the procedures attempted to leave the facility without returning a tag, he or she would likewise set off an alert for the security guard, so that the guard could retrieve the tag. If a patient has an emergency during any services, he or she can simply tug down on the tag, thereby triggering an alert that is transmitted to the back-end system and displayed on the “Patient Matra”, indicating the name and location of the patient requiring assistance.

Since the system became operational, Apollo Hospitals Chennai has been able to move patients through procedures more quickly, thus moving closer to the goal of completion before noon.

Process TAT Graph from "Patient Mantra". Counter Waiting Time Graph from "Patient Mantra". Process Waiting TIme Graph from "Patient Mantra". LIVE Report from "Patient Mantra".