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Hospitals Facing Covid-19 Can Track Equipment Via Data Automation

By Ken Briodagh May 12, 2020

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, tracking medical equipment in healthcare facilities is a critical, but complicated challenge. Or else, it used to be, according to a recent release from Nordic Semiconductor. The company recently unveiled a Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) AC plug-in wireless hub and room-level ‘stick-on’ beacon asset tracking solution, which was developed by Sixgill, that employs Nordic’s nRF52832 Systems-on-Chip (SoCs).

Sixgill has said its Sense Hospital Asset Orchestration solution is designed to help hospitals battling Covid-19 by enabling them to track scarce portable equipment assets such as ventilators, defibrillators, and various kinds of medical pumps. This reportedly includes tracking the location of assets within rooms and hallways using a technique based on Bluetooth LE beacon Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI). All collated data is made available to hospital staff on a cloud-based control panel that graphically displays all tracked assets with color-coded circles to show status alerts.

The solution is made up of AC plug-in wireless hubs, which are based on a pass-through socket design that are plugged into a single power socket in each room or hallway where asset tracking is required. Next, stick-on Bluetooth LE beacons are attached to all assets the hospital would like to track. The company said the beacon battery will last 3-5 years depending on duty cycle.

“Now a hospital is able to capture all asset information, transmit data and alerts as needed to appropriate staff, and reduce if not eliminate errors and delays when delivering critical assets to where they are needed,” said Joan Silver, VP, Product Marketing, Sixgill. “By collecting meaningful data and analyzing it over time hospitals are also able to gain insights that optimize their operational and planning efficiencies. Our solution even supports AI and machine learning to continuously improve a hospital’s understanding of its portable asset utilization patterns to enable prediction of needs during both normal operations and emergency surges.

Sixgill said it employs Nordic Semiconductor wireless technology because of its simplicity, ease of development, and reliability. It has used Nordic’s chips in multiple projects.

“Right now during this Covid-19 crisis hospitals around the world have never had a more urgent need to efficiently and effectively track and manage their scarce portable medical equipment assets, particularly in emergency rooms and overflow locations such as hallways and temporary surge facilities,” said Geir Langeland, Director of Sales & Marketing, Nordic Semiconductor. “And I welcome all and any technology solutions that could help these hospitals right now and I truly admire and respect how hard the world’s technology community is working to create and deploy such solutions.”


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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