Data-Enabled Efficiency Planning in Corrections Facilities and Custody-Based Behavioral Health Centers

By Josh Childs

We’re proud to be the go-to provider of real time location systems for custody-based behavioral health centers. But the abilities of Actall RTLS go much deeper than duress signaling and asset tracking: Our underlying system works so efficiently because of the data it collects. That same data can help health center administrators and healthcare professionals make their staffing and patient care even more efficient. Here’s how. 

Managing Needs of Short-Term Patients and Long-Term Residents

Depending on the length of stay or the types of programs offered in a custody-based behavioral health center, levels of acute care vary. 

For patients who have perhaps just entered the system or are experiencing an episode of distress, a consistent and quiet environment can make a huge difference in healing and recovery. Administrators and nursing staff can use Actall’s technology to keep patients or residents who are a bit louder, more talkative or prone to outbursts separate from those who benefit from minimal sensory stimulation. 

Our RTLS system of receivers and transmitters include functionality that works with passive tags—think RFID or barcodes—that patients can wear as bracelets. If a loud or exceptionally talkative patient crosses through a certain doorway or enters a specific hallway where patients who need peace and quiet are recovering, the bracelet will trigger a “soft alarm,” allowing healthcare workers to quietly and quickly intervene and relocate the patient. 

Ensuring Proper Staffing Levels

Staff in behavioral health centers often wear active tags, which emit a signal continuously that locators pick up. Tag data informs administrators where staff are concentrated, where staff are potentially needed and, most importantly, whenever a staff member in duress signals for help

If staffing levels need to be at a specific ratio for optimal facility functioning and patient coverage, then understanding where staff members are at any given moment is essential information to have. With Actall real-time data, shift managers and supervisors can quickly and easily get a glimpse of how many nurses are on each floor or in transit between floors, ensuring adequate coverage. 

What’s more, facilities that use RTLS tags on patients and inmates are able to perform headcounts at the touch of a button. This allows custody officers to focus more on their primary job descriptions than on counting each patient or inmate individually. 

Keeping Patients Where They Need To Be

Those same passive-tag bracelets that patients wear can also be used in conjunction with geofences—think invisible boundaries created by signals—to keep patients within designated areas or from entering areas they shouldn’t. Rather than relying on already-strapped healthcare workers to babysit or constantly monitor patients, administrators can use geofences and passive tags to keep a virtual eye on patient locations, movement and more. 

This functionality not only boosts safety and security of patients—it can also empower them. Not being followed or checked in on constantly can help patients or residents feel trustworthy in the eyes of staff, encouraging a virtuous cycle of safe and productive behavior

Avoiding problems, not just responding to them, is the key here. Duress systems might be what Actall is best known for, but it’s the data in our RTLS that will truly equip and enable behavioral health centers to provide the best care possible.