TRAVERSE CITY — Locally developed technology helped quell an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome when a patient was diagnosed with the virus at an Indiana hospital.
“The product in this case became a situational tool for them when they realized they had this MERS patient,” said HT Snowday, president of Versus Technology in Traverse City. “One of the things any facility has to go through is decide on protocols for handling the patient and handling anyone who interacted with the patient, in particular healthcare workers.”
The hospital was able to see who interacted with the patient and prevent the virus from spreading, thanks to Versus Technology’s Real-time Locating System, which uses infrared and radio frequencies to track healthcare workers and equipment.
The MERS case was diagnosed on May 2 as the first in the U.S. The diagnosed patient was working in Saudi Arabia before he arrived in the Indiana hospital. Those who contract the deadly virus typically develop fever, cough and shortness of breath. MERS has a 30 percent mortality rate, spreads through close contact and was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monitoring which healthcare workers come in contact with affected patients can help quell outbreaks of contagious viruses like MERS, but Snowday said the RTLS technology helps hospitals monitor patient and staff interaction, locate equipment or track activities such as hand washing.
“(RTLS is) providing information in real time and automation in real time that helps caregivers do their job quicker, better, faster, that helps keep patients safer and helps keep costs down for the healthcare facility,” Snowday said.
Munson Medical Center’s Webber Heart Center uses a Versus system to track patients, equipment and staff. Administrative Supervisor Leslie Casperson said the technology saves time for nurses and assistants, especially since the heart center hallways are long and rooms are spread out. Staff don’t have to search every room for the oxygen saturation monitor — they can see it on a screen.
“It eliminates delays in patient care by being able to locate specific pieces of equipment and staff,” Casperson said.
Versus Technology is based in Traverse City. The company started more than 20 years ago making locating technology and software to track patients, staff, visitors, equipment, charts and more. Its products are developed in Traverse City and manufactured in Michigan and other parts of the U.S.