New York Times Examines Hospital Use of Indoor Positioning Systems
The New York Times on Thursday examined indoor positioning systems, which track the location of people or objects inside buildings, and their use in hospitals. An indoor positioning system is employed in the "Operating Room of the Future" project at Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital, where the system allows the hospital officials to "track surgeons, nurses, patients and equipment during 20 or so surgical operations every week and to store the information in databases," the Times reports. The data helps researchers determine if devices and processes being tested in the operating room are more efficient than those used in conventional operating rooms. In addition, indoor positioning systems, which can be based on Wi-Fi or infrared and radio frequency technology, can allow hospitals to react more quickly to emergencies -- for example, by having a panic button on the badges worn by patients that identify where the patient is. However, the Times reports that the cost of some such systems and privacy issues are "significant hurdle[s]" to implementation of indoor positioning systems (Fitzgerald, New York Times, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.