RTLS : Concrete use for hospital day-to-day life

The COVID-19 crisis has been hard on hospitals. In response to these challenges, many hospitals have begun to shift their processes towards a more digital, better connected and equipped approach in order to face future crises: hospital 4.0.Hospitals are constantly trying to improve patient experience and reduce tasks with no added value for health workers, while maintaining high quality care. To do so, more and more hospitals are choosing indoor positioning systems.


A more digital, more efficient ecosystem

At Mackensie Health, they see smart hospital systems as the solution. It has been estimated that there will be approximately 50 billion devices connected : “the Internet of Healthcare things”. In fact, transforming such large, complex structures requires implementing efficient, scalable and operational solutions to ensure that hospitals are equipped to face the many upcoming challenges. Indoor positioning is contributing to the digital transformation of hospitals, for more connected, improved patient care.

Indoor positioning

RTLS in hospitals : how does it work ?

Real-time indoor positioning systems are built around 3 components: ● Independent “TAGs” in different forms (key card, wristband, button,…) which can be clipped on equipment, patients and health workers. ● Light and independent infrastructure distributed around the building, includingindependent beacons regularly emitting signals used by mobile equipment to calculatetheir positions, antennas, connected markers/terminals which receive signals emitted bytags Location data analysis and management platforms can update in real time via a user interface the position of equipment, a staff member or a patient on the interactive map. It enables flow, waiting time or equipment availability analysis. For example, positioning systems in an outpatient department can be implemented easily and quickly. Tags are attached to bracelets around patients’ wrists and on mobile lockers. They transmit signals to beacons on the walls, and then they send back information to the app servers which can calculate the position of patients and objects in real time. Jean-Yves Commeleran, development director at Icade Healthcare Property Investment, summarized nicely their mission in collaboration with Pole Star:”In the context of digitalization, we don’t only build walls anymore, but we make them talk”.


II. RTLS : 5 concrete benefits for hospitals

Indoor positioning solutions make tracking and location of medical assets and patients (among others) easier and help reduce and optimize the heavy workload of hospitals. They can also optimize equipment use rate, simplify patient follow-up and reduce paperwork mistakes.

Improving the patient experience

Visitors can download the hospital application and have access to an interactive map of the building. Indoor positioning solutions can help them find their way around different services and find patient rooms guided by the app’s itinerary.Indoor positioning apps help administrative staff focus on handling more complex tasks while reducing overcrowding and the number of lost visitors in different services.

Improved medical equipment management and tracking

Indoor positioning is particularly adapted to equipment and asset tracking. This type of usage is often less known, but it is particularly widespread and effective in the supply chain sector and industry. It is also extremely useful in the hospital sector. An interactive map is available to health staff in order to locate available equipment around them. Indoor positioning solutions can be used to book equipment in real time if it is available. The daily inventory scheduled program can also help find or keep track of lost or stolenequipment.Management can also get a more overall view of how frequently equipment is used, or ifsome equipment needs to be replaced or is not really necessary.

Indoor positioning and better room management

Booking a room or managing last-minute modifications can very quickly trigger conflicts inside a hospital. With indoor positioning, the room is booked as soon as a staff member enters it and stays inside for more than a certain amount of time (set beforehand).

Smart hospitals and improved patient itineraries

In an interview for Pole Star, the technical director of a France based polyclinic explains why indoor positioning is essential for their hospital to run smoothly. “Our polyclinic is a 22-room unit where 22.000 operations take place per year, so 15 to 20 patients have surgery per day and per room. If we lose 2 minutes looking for a patient in a service, our flow is broken. If we lose track of 3 patients per day, the whole team is annoyed, from the nurses to the surgeon, and we end up working over our shift time.” The real-time positioning system improves itineraries, eliminates wasted time, in order to improve health staff well-being at work and make sure that each intervention is completed smoothly and on time.

Controlling costs

Nowadays, budget cuts are more and more frequent and indoor positioning can help efficiently use resources by optimizing: ● The way visitors and patients are welcomed● Overall patient experience,● The use rate of medical equipment,● Room use rate,● Equipment search time ,● Caregivers’ journey in treating patients.


Pole Star delivers an efficient, cost-effective solution to the challenges of real time location of medical equipment, health staff and patients. With the Pole Star solution, hospitals can improve performance and access accurate statistics on service or process efficiency. For example, about the number of visits, patient or visitor flows, and waiting times. Our strengths: ● Best-in-class real-time tracking of equipment or people easily tailored to your needs.● Reduced investment for optimal performances : easy installation, minimal infrastructure costs.● Open architecture and interoperable: API’s make our solution compatible with business solutions and third party platforms.● Scalable technology : the service area can be easily extended, or new tracked equipment can be added with our multi-format tags and our plug and play infrastructure