CLEVELAND, OHIO — February 1st, 2017 — Cleveland, Ohio-based Emanate Wireless, a builder of solutions that continuously monitor the operation and productivity of key clinical assets at healthcare facilities, introduced today a new “Enterprise Tier” to its software subscription offerings for the PowerPath platform. PowerPath Temp Monitors are compact, wireless devices targeted at healthcare refrigeration assets. Emanate Wireless’s AI-based Machine Learning and Analytics software converts the raw data from these monitors into actionable information to help organizations save money, lower risk, and improve quality of care.
Market research conducted by Emanate indicates that half of hospitals perform no automated refrigeration monitoring whatsoever. Instead, they have nurses consume valuable, skilled time to check every refrigerator and log its status manually at least twice per day. Simple math: With 300 refrigerators in a medium-sized hospital getting checked once per shift (three times daily), each fridge will incur roughly 30 hours of checking and logging annually. Nine thousand hours at $50 an hour yields roughly $450,000 in nurse time annually to do something that could be completely automated.
Emanate founders all hail from Cisco and boast extensive backgrounds in wireless and signal analysis technologies. After extensive conversations with healthcare professionals and field tests in a major Cleveland-area care facility, the group refined what would become PowerPath Temp, a palm-sized device that sits in-line with AC power between the refrigeration device and a wall outlet. The product uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, deploys in minutes, and monitors both the device’s power consumption and temperature using a wired or wireless temperature probe.
PowerPath’s in-line AC design sets it apart from rival products, many of which incur long-term costs due to frequent (every 12-18 months) battery replacement. If replacements aren’t made promptly and accurately, organizations may not be able to certify correct temperature readings for compliance. In contrast, PowerPath relies on AC power with a lifetime rechargeable backup battery, so no maintenance is ever required. In fact, battery use is entirely optional.
PowerPath’s chief value rests in its ability to monitor the refrigeration device’s operation directly. Emanate mines its signal processing roots to deliver a higher class of utility and intelligence. As AC current data streams into Emanate’s monitoring system, AI machine learning algorithms map incoming data into patterns. Over time, the system learns the difference between, say, a compressor normally cycling on and off versus an anomaly. It can learn when defrost cycles are likely to occur and the power patterns of a door being opened.
Once Emanate’s system detects an event that defies expected patterns or thresholds, alarms can issue to appropriate staff. In February, the new “Enterprise Tier” subscription will provide integrated text- and email-based alarm notifications. This tier will also go beyond the “Basic Tier” subscription with compliance reports and resolution logging.
The system’s ability to generate predictive alarms enables fixing underlying problems before a temperature excursion occurs, which avoids emergency responses and expensive spoilage. A single refrigerator can contain pharmaceuticals worth $150,000, as well as critical samples and tests. In addition to providing early warning, Emanate’s AI machine learning algorithms also play a powerful role in filtering out nuisance alarms, when temperature briefly changes due to normal operation, such as restocking or a defrost cycle, situations which do not require user attention.
Once a user addresses an alarm situation either by fixing the underlying cause or creating a ticket for device replacement, the Emanate system allows logging of the problem resolution for regulatory compliance. Emanate helps to track these steps and can also leverage the data in creating a wide array of trend reports.
The analytics don’t stop with individual refrigerators. New levels of value materialize once enough data accumulates to assess entire device fleets. Answers will likely emerge to questions such as:
In addition to these ROI-linked benefits, proper device monitoring of course yields its chief assistance in satisfying The Joint Commission and other temperature compliance regulations.
“First, when hospitals and clinics fail those compliance tests, there’s a cost to have inspectors return, but the real financial burden is much bigger,” says Dan Cusick, Emanate’s vice president of customer development. “Failures can result in loss of Medicare reimbursements or other Insurance related expenses. And hospitals tell us that The Joint Commission is being increasingly strict since they know that automated systems are available. So, if a hospital still monitors and logs manually, they’re starting to be cited. Data is usually incomplete, and procedures are not well-established enough for all of the refrigerators and their cold storage inventory. Yes, the consensus is that failing your Joint Commission or other regulatory compliance inspections could be a disaster.”
Other benefits may be less dramatic but no less valuable. We have already touched on how intelligent, automated monitoring can help to nearly eliminate spoilage, but also consider the ramifications for patient safety. No parents want to hear the vaccine their child just received is ineffective because of improper storage. Nor do they want their relatives to be fed a sandwich that has not been refrigerated correctly. In either case, patients and their lawyers tend not to be forgiving of such mistakes when they could have been easily avoided.
Emanate Wireless and its patented array of monitoring and AI-based analysis technologies stand ready to help healthcare organizations become more efficient with their perishable supplies, more streamlined with their workflow, and better able to make the most of their device investments.