The Impact of Location-Aware Systems in Hospitals: A Tri-Core Perspective

The Impact of Location-Aware Systems in Hospitals: A Tri-Core Perspective

Lorraine S. Lee (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA) and Kirk D. Fiedler (University of South Carolina, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2011040101
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This paper focuses on the impact of information systems providing real-time or near real-time knowledge of location, described as location-aware systems. The study utilizes a qualitative, interview-based approach to guide our understanding of the benefits associated with the increased information transparency made available with location-aware information systems. The goal of this study is to examine the benefits of location-aware information systems on managing mobile assets in the hospital context. The Swanson’s tri-core model of innovation is used as the theoretical framework. The tri-core model provides a framework for understanding the role innovations play in administrative, technical and operational effectiveness. This distinction is important for the regulatory intensive environment of hospitals.
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In this study, we use the terms “Location-Aware Information Systems” and “Location-Aware Systems” to refer to information systems that integrate location information with other information system applications in order to provide real-time or near real-time knowledge of location. Location information describes the physical location of an object. Technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are perhaps the most widely known location-aware systems and are used to provide specific location information on different types of objects. Location-aware systems typically use one of these three techniques to determine a given location: 1) triangulation which uses multiple distance measures between known points; 2) proximity, which measures the nearness to a known set of points; and 3) scene analysis, which examines a view from a particular vantage point (Hightower & Borriello, 2001). Location information can be integrated with existing database systems and other information systems in order to provide real-time or near real-time knowledge of location. Context awareness is a part of location information and is the concept of sensing and reacting to dynamic environments and activities (Hazas, Scott, & Krumm, 2004). One potential application of location-aware systems is in improving the operating efficiencies of an organization in the management of mobile assets.

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