Hospitals deliver life and time-critical care and interventions utilising medical-standard regulated, high-value equipment and instrumentation across the broad spectrum of clinical care. Mobile assets (such as patient-monitors, wheelchairs, syringe-drivers) move with patients and are often misplaced, whilst stationary assets e.g. ventilators, are often lost or stolen . In the UK alone, the impact of unavailable assets leading to cancelled operations, increased search-time, over-procurement and poor equipment efficiency, carries a cost of around £2bn per annum, with a 5% impact of delayed surgery hours per annum. Range-IT brings an asset location, tracking and networking technology platform, based on a novel integration of two key technologies, which is scalable, low-cost, secure, long-range and accurate. Convert’s Range-IT technology can be implemented in healthcare institutions (which are inadequately served by current technologies) for many thousands of assets on one site, using minimal, ‘plug-in’ anchor equipment for tracking the asset tags.
Range-IT offers improved reliability, location accuracy, range and battery life over competing technologies (e.g. RFID, GPS, ISM telephony, Bluetooth), reduced infrastructure requirements into the host building (and therefore reduced installation and maintenance costs) as well as enhanced short-range positioning for each Range-IT device: a ground-breaking application architecture and the main focus of this recent Innovate UK project award.
Moreover, since Range-IT can also transmit bi-directional data via a secure data channel, greater system integration is possible; e.g. monitoring of asset temperature, calibration status, service intervals and usage statistics, as well as asset location in (or around) a hospital campus.
Convert Technologies has been working in location services for some years, currently developing a technology to track patients in healthcare settings (TaCT).
Andy Brown, Operations Director of Althea UK & Ireland says, “As a major independent Healthcare Technology management company in Europe, we are delighted to be involved with this project and are excited to bring the asset tracking solution to market over the next 12-18 months”.
Working with this partner, we are developing the system requirement specification, as well as facilitating the field testing of a full Range-IT system in several UK hospitals as part of this ground-breaking project.
This 12-18 months, £500k Innovate UK project, addresses the ongoing drive for improved efficiency, capacity and quality of outcomes in health service systems.
The Range-IT concept also enables future development of a simple, integrated asset location and data interchange system for Hospital equipment, and also for adjacent high-value markets such as Smart Agriculture and Industrial Processing.
Additional strategic support for the project comes from leading global supplier of high-performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, Semtech Corporation. Their SX1280 transceiver provides ultra-long-range communication in the 2.4 GHz band with the linearity to withstand heavy interference. This makes it an ideal component for a robust and reliable wireless solution like Range-IT.
“Convert’s ground-breaking solution for asset tracking will enable hospitals to optimise their resources and therefore improve efficiencies through an easy to deploy and scalable solution,” said Pedro Pachuca, Director of Product Marketing at Semtech. “Convert’s highly innovative use of Semtech’s LoRa and ranging feature is a clear example of how LoRa can operate at the 2.4GHz band and complement sub-GHz with high data rate and more accurate geolocation, capturing new use cases, therefore expanding the market for the whole LoRa ecosystem.”
Delivery of the Range-IT project will establish Convert Technologies as a new, UK-based leading provider of low-power radio asset tracking technology into hospitals nationally and globally, improving levels of care, efficiency and outcomes in a growing population. Convert anticipate Range-IT leading to significant business growth, with payback in 10 months and ultimately creating numerous new job roles in the Derby area over the next 3yrs.
 GE_Healthcare, Taking_Medical_Asset_Tracking_to_the_Next_Level_with_RTLS, 15_October_2019