GE Healthcare has unveiled Encompass, a system that helps hospitals manage their mobile asset inventories. Encompass can improve outcomes by enabling healthcare providers to locate critical mobile assets in real-time with accuracy and ease so they can spend less time searching for equipment and more time focused on providing quality patient care.

Over the past 15 years, real-time location systems (RTLS) have been proven to help hospitals significantly improve management of critical mobile clinical assets, right-size inventories, and save up to millions of dollars in capital and maintenance costs. However, significant obstacles around implementation of traditional RTLS—including large capital expenditures and long, disruptive deployment programs—have limited its market penetration to just 15% to 20%.

According to GE officials, Encompass is poised to achieve new levels of RTLS adoption by helping facilities enable better patient care, operational efficiency, and financial performance. Built upon open standards and commercial Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology that leverages a hospital’s existing Wi-Fi network, this approach eliminates the classic objections to proprietary hard-wired locating systems.

For example:

  • It can be installed in a matter of days instead of months, and without opening ceilings or drilling into walls to run cable.
  • The capital and installation cost is up to 60% lower than for cabled RTLS. There is no requirement for separate, dedicated onsite application and database servers for the hospital to maintain and no dedicated software to update. Furthermore, the applications can be provided as a subscription service.
  • The system readily scales to accommodate growth and can be easily reconfigured if hospital layouts are redesigned or repurposed.
  • As a cloud-based application, the location system is accessible to any authorized staff member and from any computer or mobile device with Internet access.

“Finally, there is an asset tracking solution that isn’t so problematic to implement,” says Rob Reilly, vice president and general manager of U.S. & Canada Services at GE Healthcare. “Also, the opportunity for ROI is quicker. We believe this means that nursing and HTM departments who have been asking for real-time asset tracking capabilities are going to start getting approvals from decision-makers.”

Encompass combines the experience of GE Healthcare in medical devices and hospital operations management with the experience of its technology partner, Zebra Technologies, a provider of enterprise mobile computing technologies.