Real time location systems: Is it big brother or a big opportunity for professional practice?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


Purpose: Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) is an emerging health care technology with the potential to capture data that can be used to improve professional practice and patient outcomes. However, there is a paucity of literature in this area to guide health professionals and leaders in both the implementation and use of RTLS data. To address this gap in the literature, this qualitative study was designed to explore how staff perceive and experience RTLS, and how health care providers anticipate using RTLS data for professional practice and clinical decision making.Results: Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 31 health care professionals who work in a community hospital in Canada. There was variation between the participants in terms of the experience of being monitored, the intensity of emotions related to RTLS and being monitored, the degree to which RTLS influenced clinical decision making and reflection, and the perceptions of usefulness of RTLS data for  professional practice. Three key themes emerged from the data: (1) the experience of being monitored, (2) anticipating using the data and (3) claiming the data for professional practice.Conclusions: Supports are vital to the successful adoption of RTLS and to enable health care professionals to claim and use RTLS data for professional practice and clinical decision making. During the implementation and use of RTLS data, it is crucial to recognize that RTLS data only represent the time spent in a location, and not the professional or knowledge-based practice of health professionals. Further research is required to understand the leadership strategies to guide the use of RTLS data.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Journal Journal of Nursing Education and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug. 2020

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