There is no shortage of information on how Covid-19 has changed our world (and continues to change it), but one aspect that has been interesting to watch is how existing technology has been used to aid us in a virus that wasn’t even in our vernacular just over a year ago. Real time location systems (RTLS) have been used for people and asset tracking for many years in the healthcare industry and we have even written about it here. But as social distancing and contact tracing became a vital piece of the “Covid puzzle”, a simple inventory management tool became an invaluable piece to fighting this virus.


Needing to know where infected people had been in a building, who they had been in close contact with and when they were there became critical as this virus spread. RTLS has helped hospitals, healthcare facilities, and senior living (and other job sectors as well) quickly track this information down resulting in a quicker, more sophisticated response and helping to save lives.


A study conducted in May 2020 showed that RTLS-based contact tracing had a higher sensitivity and better specificity than EMR (electronic medical records) review. Integration of both methods provided the best performance for rapid contact tracing. The study tracked all admitted patients with Covid-19, their ward locations, and the health care workers rostered to each ward. Using RTLS, they were able to identify and determine the total number of potential contacts between patients with Covid-19 and health care workers. During Covid, RTLS systems have allowed healthcare facilities to effectively use an existing technology to fight this virus using communication, automation and elimination.



Everyone knows communication is vital, but when Covid-19 hit it became all the more vital. In hospitals, healthcare facilities and senior living, knowing what has been cleaned and what has not needs to be communicated quickly and accurately. RTLS allows for quick visualization for when a room was cleaned, who cleaned it and did anyone else enter the room after it was cleaned. These tracking systems also communicate where in a hospital critical equipment like ventilators and PPE can be found.



When seconds count, a RLTS needs to automate contact tracing to quickly analyze and synthesize exposure risk. Because of the nature of the symptoms of Covid, a Covid-postive person doesn’t always know they were sick until well after they had exposed themselves to others. Automated contact tracing in the RTLS eliminates any guesswork and speeds up an otherwise tedious, time consuming  process. This has empowered hospitals, healthcare facilities and senior living sites to take quick action to help stop the spread of infection.



While no one enjoyed a waiting room pre-Covid, during Covid it became a large problem area in reducing the spread. With RTLS in place, hospitals and healthcare facilities were able to eliminate the waiting room and reduce possible spread. With direct-rooming and self-rooming workflows, RTLS eliminates large huddle spaces and gives real-time visibility to room status.  This allows staff to be able to immediately direct patients to a clean exam room. Real-time visibility of a patient’s location means that caregivers know the place and status of a patient at all times. Bypassing the waiting room altogether reduces large gathering places, protects staff and ensures a lower risk of Covid exposure.



While we’re all anxious for the complete eradication of Covid-19 and become encouraged by lowered infection numbers and vaccine availability, one thing is for sure that RTLS technology will only continue to grow with the needs that they address.


Is your facility in need of an evaluation of its asset tracking, location services or a way to automate this process?


Contact our team today to see what Audio Acoustics can offer your hospital, healthcare facility or senior living spaces.