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USID – enabling technology

Sonitor IPS tracks and positions equipment and people indoors. Sonitor IPS is based on a unique and patented use of ultrasound (USID) for communications in air and gives position for any object in real-time.

The Sonitor® Indoor Positioning System (IPS) uses Tags and Receivers. The Tag transmits a unique identification signal using ultrasound waves. Receivers that use Sonitor patented Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms picks up the signal and transmits it via an existing LAN/Wi-Fi network to a central computer that stores the information about the Tag’s location and the time of receipt of the signal.

Due to the unique attributes of ultrasound there is no risk of electromagnetic interference with or from other equipment. The low quantity of data transmitted from the Tags requires minimal LAN bandwidth so existing wired or wireless LAN can easily be leveraged. Existing PC’s can be leveraged as Tag signal Receivers eliminating the need for other RTLS hardware than Tags attached to the objects to be located or tracked. The Sonitor RTLS is fully, easily and quickly scalable. The small footprint Tags have optional communication buttons for custom configuration. Semi-disposable patient tags with a single patient use outer shell eliminate risks of cross contamination.

The Sonitor IPS represents a robust, virtually fail-safe, yet simple tracking solution to your complex challenge.

USID is in use at several hospitals where accurate and reliable patient tracking, asset tracking and staff tracking is needed for asset management, workflow, patient flow and security purposes. The information harvested and made available by the indoor positioning system can be utilized for applications like:

  • Nurse call support – automated cancellation of nurse call signal
  • Hand washing compliance
  • Fall detection
  • Contact tracking
  • Automated Logon/Logoff
  • Automated billing support

Not only health care

Ultrasound RTLS technology is not linked to hospitals, but can be used in many areas where accurate indoor tracking is needed. Examples are:

  • Conferences – tracking visitors and staff
  • Restaurants – locating the customer
  • Mines – locating personnel

High Definition Receiver (HDR)

Raising the bar for RTLS performance – the Sonitor High Definition Receiver (HDR) has been developed in response to the growing need for an indoor RTLS technology which provides reliable 100% room-level or sub-room level location accuracy with simple and flexible deployment and Wi-Fi or Ethernet network connectivity.

The HDR microphones detect ultrasound messages from Sonitor Tags. These messages, containing the unique Tag-ID, are processed by the HDR using Sonitor’s patented Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms. The processed information is then transferred to the Sonitor IPS server over an existing Wi-Fi or Ethernet local area network.

A customer selected third-party application software interfaces with the Sonitor server software, and presents the accurate real-time location of the ultrasound Tags to the application user.
Multiple Zones with one unit
The High Definition Receiver can be configured to resolve several sub-zones within the same room from a single unit.
Flexible connectivity
The High Definition Receiver is equipped with technology which enables easy and flexible deployment:

  • Wi-Fi support
  • Built-in Power over Ethernet (PoE) with power forwarding
  • Daisy chaining capability
  • DHCP assigned IP addresses

Built-in Wi-Fi support enables the Sonitor HDR to leverage existing Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi module supports IEEE 802.11b/g with WPA/WPA2 security as well as several other common and advanced security protocols.

E-Tag – the multifunctional Tag

The Sonitor® IPS E-Tag is a small battery powered wireless device to be affixed to movable objects for tracking purposes as part of Sonitor’s Indoor Positioning System (IPS).
When moving and/or at preset intervals the Tag transmits its own identification code using ultrasound. A Sonitor Receiver (microphone) hears and transfers the Tag ID-code to a Server which stores the Tag’s location and time-stamp information in its database.

The Tag circuitry is activated by it’s built in motion sensor, a timer, or by one of the optional signal buttons or tamper sensor switches. Otherwise, the circuitry is in a battery saving “sleep mode”. Before entering a sleep mode, the Tag will transmit a few special signals indicating that the Tag no longer is in motion.

Battery life expectancy
Battery life expectancy is dependent on motion and transmission intervals. The Tag-E battery will last for approximately 600.000 transmissions for typical hospital settings. The battery power status is transmitted as part of each signal and enables low battery warnings.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The Tag is designed to be cleaned and disinfected by procedures used for other electronic patient care equipment using normal hospital cleaning detergents and disinfectant solvents. The Tag can be sprayed or rinsed off followed by a wipe-down.

All versions of Tag-E can be attached to equipment surfaces with double sided tape or a bracket with screws. Other bracket attachment solutions such as for wristband, belt and for tubular surfaces are also available.

Staff Locating

The ability to quickly locate staff is essential to patient safety, staff safety, patient flow and efficient operations.

You can create an environment where interruptions are minimized and communication is maximized by helping staff to find the resources they need—including their fellow staff members—in a timely manner, without phone calls and walking surveys.

Real-time staff locating helps keep staff focused on patient care and workflow tasks that must be completed in order to advance the patient to the next stage of care. Patient visits progress more efficiently when staff are easily located to answer simple questions that might otherwise be forgotten or overlooked.

Knowing where your fellow staff members are will also help you to quickly provide support if they indicate a need for assistance.

Versus initially established the viability of real-time locating in the healthcare market via its integration with nurse call systems to automate nurse registry and call cancellation to improve efficiency while enhancing patient care. Versus integrates with virtually all nurse call manufacturers to provide automatic call cancellation to their nurse call systems.

Benefits of VIS Nurse Call Integration:

  • Detects presence of staff in patient rooms
  • Integrates to virtually all major nurse call systems to automate relay/light events
  • Reduces manual entry/action (7% efficiency gain)
  • “Registers” caregiver in treatment area
  • Cancels pending patient calls
  • VIS™ badge programmed for caregiver level (RN, LPN)
  • Badge button can be programmed as desired (typically for “Assistance” call)
  • Accurate time stamp of: Who, When, What Room, With Whom and How Long?

In nurse call applications, Versus tags are worn by caregivers and each tag can be programmed to a certain care level (e.g., RN, LPN, etc.). When the nurse enters a patient’s room, the correct call light (blue=RN, red=LPN) turns on and upon exit turns the light off.

VIS also keeps a log of all interactions between patients and staff members as well as passing that information on to our nurse call partners. As a result, department managers can accurately measure time spent with patients, identify potential bottlenecks, and assess how efficiently patients flow through the department. In addition, if a patient complains that no one checked on him, even though he pressed the nurse call button, you have the information available to counter or validate such claims.

Put simply, VISion automatically gathers the kind of comprehensive data people would be hard-pressed to keep track of manually. But more importantly, it does so with very little human-to-computer interaction. In the end, caregivers receive the information they need, but they don’t have to interrupt care for annoying data entry.

Ultrasound (USID) Accuracy vs RFID Accuracy

It’s the unique natural attributes of ultrasound which make USID technology ideal for Real Time Location Systems requiring reliable location data with high levels of accuracy.

The Ultrasound Advantage

The Sonitor system uses ultrasound as its means of communications. Ultrasound has several desirable properties           that make it ideal for this application.

  1. It does not penetrate solid walls, so location per room is simple to achieve.
  2. It does not require line of sight between the tag and the detector, making it possible to track objects that are hidden or located in drawers or filing cabinets.
  3. Ultrasound waves are mechanical waves, and therefore are immune to interference. They do not interfere with sensitive equipment that might otherwise be disturbed by electromagnetic waves.
  4. The security of an ultrasound system is very high, making it virtually impossible to eavesdrop on the communications link from outside the premises of the installation.
  5. The Sonitor ultrasound system has been designed for safety, so all emitted sound pressure levels are within the international regulations for the safe use of ultrasound.

Asset Tracking

The inability to quickly locate available equipment can be detrimental to patient flow and patient safety. Additionally, time spent searching is wasteful, often involving multiple well-paid individuals.

Real-time Asset Tracking with Versus Advantages, helps you eliminate the waste, expense and potential safety issues resulting from frequent, time-consuming equipment searches.

Tracking equipment will help reduce expenditures related to equipment rentals and purchases. You can even receive alerts regarding warranty expirations, maintenance due, rental contract dates to ensure equipment is well-maintained and available.

By tracking assets in real-time, you can create comprehensive equipment storage models based on what works best at your facility. Know which pieces of equipment are used frequently and which sit unused in storage. Where central equipment deployment occurs, you’ll have the tools to track equipment orders and deliveries, including who ordered what, when, and when the item arrived for use. It’s just another way to measure, so you can manage.

Start with Accurate Locating Technology.

Versus combines invisible infrared (IR) light and the communication capabilities of radio frequency identification (RFID) to provide the most precise locating technology available to healthcare.

Make it Long-Lasting

With one-time installation of the Versus Sensory Network (no recalibration or battery change-outs required) and an extensive badge battery life (even when transmitting at low interval rate), Versus saves healthcare institutions thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the system. This includes time saved due to system maintenance, recalibration, replacements and recycling costs.

Deliver High Performance

Because Versus creates accurate location data and is responsible for the delivery of accurate location information, we can also deliver intelligent, rules-based software to display, report and act on the location information available.

Versus provides meaningful use of location data

Others struggle simply to deliver an accurate RTLS. Then, they rely on partners to interpret this inaccurate data. Very simply, one should not rely on inaccurate data to make workflow decisions and one cannot rely on inaccurate data to automate workflows, nurse call, billing functions, visit progression or vital actions.

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