Versus Technolgy: Keeping Real-Time Tabs On Patients, Equipment

By Ross Boissoneau

For Versus Technology, helping hospitals and clinics keep track of equipment was only the beginning. The Traverse City-based company continues to develop innovative ways to use its real-time, proprietary locating systems (RTLS).

“We optimize awareness of what’s going on and analyze how to do it better,” said President H.T. Snowday, from his office off of Cass Road.

The company has been at the forefront of using technology to monitor the status of everything from machines to people for some 20 years. Versus began as the merger of a company in Traverse City and one in Trenton, NJ.

“We’ve been focused on health care for a long time,” said Snowday. Today, Versus services more than  700 hospitals and clinics.

The company’s radio-frequency identification (RFID) badges enable clinics to determine not only where patients and providers are, but more importantly monitor all the interactions between patients and staff. That becomes more critical than ever considering the current concern over Ebola and other transmissible and potential deadly diseases.

Snowday pointed to a community hospital in Munster, Ind,, which had the first case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the country in May of this year.

“One of the first tasks was to discover the interactions,” he said. “They used data from the Versus system. We got a lot of credit from the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”

Additionally, Versus’ systems can monitor the workflow of care. That includes what needs to be done for patients, as well as what has already been done – and who has done it.

“It’s a rich data source of contact tracing,” Snowday explained.

It’s in the areas of patient care that clinics and hospitals are finding exciting new ways of utilizing Versus technology. The company’s system can tell:

– Where patients are and how long they’ve been waiting

– Patient status (ready to be seen, with physician, in X-ray, etc.)

– Room status (assigned, available, in need of cleaning)

– Where patients and/or caregivers should go next

– Where bottlenecks are causing delays

Snowday said the company is dedicated to providing ways to assist the industry, from creating efficiencies to improving hygiene.

“It’s a provable benefit to clinicians,” said Snowday. “I think we’re just scratching the surface.”

Versus still uses its technology to track equipment, but that facet of its business has also advanced. Before, it could alert staff as to the location of a piece of equipment, such as a blood pressure monitor. Now, it can tell how many are available, where they are located, how many need to be cleaned or serviced, and send alerts when inventory drops below a specified level. That way, when something  is needed, staff does not waste time cleaning, servicing, or simply looking for equipment.

It also generates data on how often equipment is used for patient care. That enables the facility to accurately determine how many units are actually necessary for optimum health care.

Snowday began his career with the company years ago working in the mailroom, before going on to other endeavors. He worked in Silicon Valley, operated a consulting firm in Detroit and served as creative director for in New York City. During his career, he has worked with Fortune 100 companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M and Goldman Sachs.

Snowday took over as Versus president from Gary Gaisser, who was both president and CEO. Gaisser now serves as CEO, with Snowday leading the company in day-to-day operations.

Versus is one of a handful of companies specializing in real-time proprietary locating systems. It works with various health care providers across the country as well as in Canada. Snowday doesn’t rule out expansion across the globe, but is primarily interested in further penetrating the markets in the United States.

One area it is advancing into is long-term care facilities. Traverse Victorian Senior Living and Water’s Edge Assisted Living in Traverse City both recently installed the company’s Visibility Resident Care system to enhance staff efficiency and resident safety. Owner Debbie Banton said she looked at several options for a resident call system.

“All of them could tell me which resident was calling, but they couldn’t tell me where the resident currently was in the building,” she said. “The exception was Visibility Resident Care, with its GPS data.”

Wherever it goes next, Versus will remain headquartered here. “There are many, many other great tech companies doing amazing things here,” said Snowday. “We like to bring people here. We have no plans to be anywhere else.”