Hospital Asset Tracking for Critical Medical Equipment and Devices: Ventilators, CPAPs, IV Pumps, Etc.

 

What is AirFinder?

AirFinder is a pop-up real-time location system (RTLS) for hospital asset tracking that healthcare facilities are using to track ventilators and other highly critical equipment throughout their facility – even in temporary facilities. 

Small pieces of hardware called Location Beacons and Access Points are placed in rooms, corridors, and other areas where real-time location data about equipment and devices is needed. AirFinder runs independently of existing WiFi and requires little to no additional infrastructure. 

What's more, it’s been installed by our customers in hundreds of locations by following a simple set of instructions, so hospital and healthcare staff can do the same with a bit of guidance.

The RTLS can be up and running within a day - or even a few hours - to begin delivering location data.

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Is Link Labs able to do installations if I don’t have the staff for it right now?

If, for whatever reason, you’d rather not complete the installation with existing employees, Link Labs works with installation partners across the United States to deploy AirFinder systems. Our partners are ready and willing to do installations in hospitals, even in the current climate.

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How long does it take to get from the initial order to a working system?

Less than a week, but we’ve recently done it in under 48 hours. Link Labs can prepare and ship an AirFinder order within 2-3 business days, and AirFinder systems can be up and running within a day, depending on the size of the deployment.

Additionally, AirFinder systems can be set up in stages and still function properly, so you can cover the most critical areas first. Installation guides, online training, and our Support Team are also available to help remotely guide a deployment quickly and efficiently.

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What does AirFinder cost? Are there separate charges for installation, hardware, and on-going service?

AirFinder costs are based on the size of the deployment and the number of assets being monitored. If a customer chooses to self-install, the installation charges for AirFinder are waived, and we’ll still provide world-class support to get you up and running.

The hardware is sold on an up-front, one-time basis. And we charge for the AirFinder software services on an on-going basis. Reach out for more details.

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Which technologies does AirFinder use?

AirFinder tags use widely available, off-the-shelf Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chipsets to locate themselves. The tags “talk” via BLE to AirFinder Access Points. These Access Points communicate with AirFinder Gateways of the local area network established for the AirFinder system, which is based on LoRa™ technology.

From there, included Gateways send , or “backhaul”, data to the Internet via cellular connections totally independently of existing WiFi infrastructure. This means there is no additional burden on the WiFi network, and it means that AirFinder data doesn’t interfere with the facility’s IT network at all. 

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How does AirFinder’s software/user interface work?

The AirFinder user interface (UI) is a simple but powerful tool that displays the current location of your tagged assets. The UI provides an overarching view of each asset’s location by floor. Users can sort and filter location data across several parameters, across equipment groups, and even individual tags. 

Plus, pick-lists can be created from searches and downloaded for immediate use. New tags can be added easily or repurposed to track another asset.

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Will there be wireless interference issues with existing hospital equipment?

The technologies AirFinder uses operate in unlicensed spectrum (902-928 MHz for LoRa and 2.4 GHz for BLE). All devices are FCC-certified and do not cause any undue interference with existing hospital equipment. The AirFinder tags connect only to Access Points, and only when they need to communicate locations. The Access Points do the same with AirFinder Gateways.

For a less technical explanation, AirFinder doesn’t “broadcast” in a voice that’s “loud enough” for powerful medical equipment to “notice.” However, if you were to tag a piece of that equipment, Airfinder won’t have any problem locating it for you.

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How long will the batteries last?

Every use case is different, but AirFinder tags and Location Beacons can last for 1-2 years or more. Since tags only send out location data when they’re “on the move,” battery life depends on how often tagged assets are changing location and how frequently they are set to provide location updates to the Access Points.

We work closely with our customers to define tag settings that meet their unique needs. While most of our Location Beacons are able to be plugged in to AC outlets, the batteries can be replaced very easily in our battery-powered options, and some tag types also have replaceable batteries.

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What maintenance is required beyond occasional battery replacement?

The integrity of the location data depends on accurate placement of Location Beacons within the AirFinder system. If Location Beacons need to be moved out of a room or are replaced, then the “digital twin” of that beacon in the AirFinder UI has to be updated. This process is very straightforward and can be accomplished within a few clicks.

Link Labs provides our users with monitoring tools for AirFinder network components. These tools allow you to monitor things like an inadvertently disconnected Access Point or a low-battery warning and proactively alert the right people so you aren’t caught off guard.

Lastly, if AirFinder devices are damaged, equipment can be replaced by staff. There’s no need for anyone to come out to the facility, as long as the digital twin of the infrastructure has been updated as needed in AirFinder. 

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Can AirFinder detect asset utilization?

As of today, AirFinder tags cannot determine utilization of the underlying assets, such as when a ventilator is actively in-use by a patient. AirFinder tags do send location updates when the assets move to new rooms or down a corridor, which can be a proxy for utilization.

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What are some of the limitations of this hospital asset tracking system?

AirFinder is a lightweight, RTLS system which is best suited for quickly locating critical equipment. As such, AirFinder doesn’t currently support other types of healthcare use cases (e.g. hygiene compliance). That’s how we keep installation simple and costs affordable - our customers are saving 50-90% over more complex, multi-use systems.

The other limitation is the speed with which tags can update their location. The fastest update rates are on the order of 5-10 seconds. AirFinder is not suited as an instantaneous chokepoint monitoring system, such as making absolutely sure visitors stay within a certain area.

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How many assets can an AirFinder network track?

A typical deployment can support thousands of tags without breaking a sweat. The number of assets that can be supported depends on configuration factors, like the frequency with which tagged assets change location, how quickly tags are set to send location updates, and how dense the AirFinder network is set up to be.

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How accurate is AirFinder?

AirFinder is a proximity-based system, so its accuracy is dependent on the number of Location Beacons in a deployment. In a typical hospital, AirFinder can achieve room-level accuracy +/- one room about 99% of the time. So if an asset isn’t where we think it is, it’s probably right next door.

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How many installations are leveraging AirFinder?

AirFinder is deployed in hundreds of locations with at least 200 rooms, many with upwards of 2,000. We've gotten incredibly good at analyzing a floor plan and quickly converting it into an affordable RTLS that meets your unique needs.

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What geographic regions can support AirFinder?

AirFinder can be deployed today in the US and Canada.

 

Still Have Questions?

We’re here to help with hospital asset tracking.  We have plenty of inventory ready to ship and are available to work with you to ensure you can go-live with or without outside contractors to install this solution.

 

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