System offers remedy for hospital traffic

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Traffic snarls aren’t reserved for Virginia highways. Hospitals are just as likely to experience congestion, delays, inefficiencies and added costs in moving patients through their corridors for surgeries, tests, physical therapy and other appointments. This situation prompted MDA Technologies, a Web site and software developer based in Woodbridge, to develop a wireless dispatch system. It allows employees moving patients to receive real-time instructions through a personal digital assistant (PDA).

The system, known as MDA Trans-Quest, has been installed at Potomac Hospital in Prince William County and at Howard County Hospital in Maryland. It also is scheduled to go in hospitals in South Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

MDA TransQuest tells patient transporters which patients they’re picking up and where they’re going, while providing the patient’s identification number and medical record number. The system relies on technology that considers patient priority and transporter location to make automated decisions on which patient should be moved and by whom.

The system also keeps track of each transport and generates reports that help improve staffing and control costs. “Now administrators can see exactly where patients are going, how quickly they’re being transported, which times of the day are the busiest, what departments are causing delays and why,” explains Al Maxey, executive vice president for MDA Technologies.

The system — including training and PDA devices — costs less than $50,000 to install in a hospital with at least 10 transporters on duty at one time. MDA Technologies, which has 10 employees, plans to increase its TransQuest business steadily but smartly, says Maxey. He and business partner Tim Jackson, the company’s CEO, are targeting medium-size hospitals with 120 beds or more. They hope eventually to expand into other industries that require dispatch systems, such as building maintenance and health-care environmental services.



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