Two TC Tech Titans Partner Up

TRAVERSE CITY – Salamander and Versus have teamed up to create a process using complementary software programs to ensure tracking of patients from incident to the hospital bed.

How did these two companies, both based in Traverse City, combine their efforts to create this potentially game-changing tracking solution?

"Both companies are well-known innovators in the industry," says Mary Winowiecki, marketing director at Salamander. "We were aware of each other. We started talking to one another, and said, let's just see if it works."

Both companies track patients through a tagging system. Salamander works in the field with first responders; Versus works within the clinical setting.

Integrating their technologies was a logical next step. It is especially relevant with regard to large-scale incidents, where everyone from physicians to loved ones can determine where a specific patient was treated and where they are at any point in time.

In fact, the combination of the two makes so much sense one could almost ask why it didn't happen sooner.

"The idea that we can track a patient from the wide-open site of a natural or man-made disaster down to a specific hospital bed has huge implications for emergency responders and health care professionals responding to a possible pandemic or bioterrorism incident," says Russ Miller, Salamander Technologies president and CEO.

"But the benefits of this partnership go beyond patient treatment and outcomes. It can help family and friends search for loved ones and can assist with resource management when dealing with overlapping jurisdictions."

Imagine an incident such as 9/11, or even a large-scale traffic accident in an urban setting, with multiple ambulance services and numerous nearby hospitals. Knowing the severity and types of injuries in the field could allow for in-transit re-routing of patients to a different hospital.

For example, if a particular type of trauma was better suited to hospital B than hospital A, or if hospital A was full, the patients could be immediately routed to hospital B, rather than arriving at the wrong location and then having to spend precious time back on the road traveling to the proper hospital. "That's potentially life-saving time," says Kevin Jackson, Director of Development at Versus.

While the benefits of tracking people are easily apparent, there are benefits to tracking equipment, too. Jackson says one client hospital that utilized their system was able to reduce its inventory of IV pumps by 20 percent, saving more than $6.2 million in 10 years.

Another client hospital was able to immediately locate a hemorrhage cart when it wasn't where it was supposed to be, not only saving time but also a new mother's life when she began to hemorrhage immediately after giving birth. Jackson says that is the kind of example that brings home to Versus the importance of their products.

While the benefits of the integrated system may not be as apparent in the companies' home town, both Versus and Salamander work with companies across the globe, many in larger areas where there are both multiple facilities and greater potential for catastrophic incidents. That is where this marriage will most likely have the greatest benefit.

Still, the fact these two industry leaders are located in Traverse City demonstrates the area is ripe with innovative tech companies.

Says Miller: "The fact that we have two national players in the auto ID and tracking world both based in Traverse City and working together on something so important is pretty cool, too." BN