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Tagging, Tracking Nurses Improves Workflow

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, March 25, 2014

Nurses at a Florida hospital are wearing electronic tags to track their daily steps. The data has been revealing and led to changes in workflow. The CNO says nurses like it and "know that it can help them."

If nurse managers could walk for a day in their staff nurses' shoes, they'd get a picture of just how busy those nurses really are. And in an ideal situation, nurse managers could use that information to make nurses' jobs easier and their days better organized.

That's exactly what's happening at Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Celebration, FL, where more than 100 nurses and patient care techs are wearing tiny electronic tracking tags in an effort to streamline their workflow.

"Nurses are really busy," Celebration Health's CNO, Patricia Jo Toor, RN, BA, MSN, tells me. "We need to be more effective and efficient in what we do, and nursing is the most expensive asset in the hospital… how can we better help their day? How can we make sure that how we have the unit set up is really efficient for nursing?"

It was these kinds of questions that drove the hospital, which was already using electronic tracking tools to keep track of medical equipment, to use Real Time Locating System (RTLS) technology on its staff. It implemented the program in 2011 in the surgical unit, and has since expanded the program to the OR and medical oncology units. The program literally tracks nurses' steps.

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