December 11, 2013 09:30 ET

Nor-Lea Hospital District to Enhance ED and Clinic Patient Flow With Versus RTLS

TRAVERSE CITY, MI--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - What can a clinic or hospital emergency department do when it's expected to see 75 percent more patients than it did just two years ago? Nor-Lea Hospital District has turned to the Versus Advantages™ Clinic and ED patient flow solutions from Versus Technology, Inc. (OTC Pink: VSTI).

Nor-Lea is the healthcare provider of choice for New Mexico's Lea County and surrounding areas, which are growing rapidly thanks to a boom in oil and gas exploration.

"The population in the last census increased 16 percent in our county, and it's expected to increase 16 to 20 percent further because of the economy," explains Nor-Lea CEO David Shaw. "Two years ago we did 32,000 clinic visits and this year we're pushing about 56 or 57,000 visits -- in the same [physical] space."

The Advantages solutions, powered by Versus' Real-time Locating System (RTLS), track patients and monitor interactions with staff using small, lightweight badges that emit low-powered Infrared and RFID signals. Through rules-based automation and integrations to Nor-Lea's CPSI EHR, lab and scheduling systems, the emergency department and attached medical clinic will know, with no manual data entry:

  • Where patients are and how long they've been waiting, including alerts when wait times exceed pre-established benchmarks
  • Which ancillary services have been ordered and which are ready
  • Which patients are ready to see a provider
  • Which rooms are available, assigned, or in need of cleaning
  • Where patients and caregivers should go next
  • Where staff are currently located
  • Real-time patient to staff ratios

Shaw and Nor-Lea COO Dan Hamilton became excited about the Advantages solutions after touring Pacific Medical Centers' Canyon Park Clinic. "We saw how they use the system to reduce wait times and improve patient flow and staff utilization," says Hamilton. According to a case study conducted by the clinic and Versus, Canyon Park has reduced average patient visits from 70 to 46 minutes and increased patient flow by 35 to 40 percent.

"We're hoping to use Versus in the same way and help our physicians and nurses connect better," Hamilton continues. "One of the providers' biggest complaints is that they walk out of the patient room and don't know where their staff is."

In addition to real-time visibility and alerts on wait times and patient status, Tammy Armitige, RN, manager of the Nor-Lea Medical Clinic, is also looking forward to the historical data provided through Reports Plus™ Analytics, the RTLS reporting module.

"First and foremost we'll be paying close attention to how long the patient is waiting before coming into contact with staff," she says. "I'm interested in seeing how long they're waiting in the lobby as opposed to how long they're waiting in a room. This will help us make sure we're encountering the patients as often as possible. To me, that encourages patient safety."

Nor-Lea can now use both real-time and historical workflow information to improve the clinic's productivity and processes in order to maximize each day's schedule.

"Because of our high volumes, we have patients complain that they can't get in to see a provider," Armitige acknowledges. "I'll be seeing where we can shave as many minutes as possible off processes in order to open up another opportunity for a patient visit. We'll be better able to visualize the areas we need to improve in so we can make more appointments available."

In the emergency department, Shaw says wait times are a factor. "Our wait times in the lobby, compared nationally, are not bad. But for a small town, I think they could be better. When staff are preoccupied taking care of critical patients, less critical patients may be waiting longer in the lobby. Versus will help increase awareness through wait time alerts, reminding us to go out and communicate with patients, explain why there's wait time, and address any needs they may have."

"We're growing so rapidly as an organization," Shaw adds. "The challenge for us is being able to manage patient flow and patient volume while continuing to provide exceptional customer service. Versus will give us the tools to effectively manage and improve our operations."

Nor-Lea will be launching the Advantages RTLS solutions for the emergency department and clinic this month, and hopes to eventually expand the system hospital-wide.

Clinics and EDs wishing to learn more about RTLS can download Versus' educational white paper, "7 Ways RTLS Technology Increases Patient Volume and Improves Satisfaction" at, or visit with Versus the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., February 23-27. For information about RTLS educational sessions and events at HIMSS, visit

About Nor-Lea Hospital District
Nor-Lea Hospital District is a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare organization that owns and operates Nor-Lea General Hospital, Nor-Lea Cancer Center, Nor-Lea Home Medical and several clinics serving New Mexico's Lea County and surrounding areas. Nor-Lea Hospital District also offers an array of outpatient and imaging services and several specialty clinics through the Nor-Lea Professional Physicians Center. The district's mission is to provide quality, compassionate healthcare with dignity, in partnership with its community.

About Versus Technology, Inc.
Established in 1988, Versus Technology, Inc. specializes in Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS) for healthcare. Used by more than 700 hospitals for enterprise patient tracking, bed management, asset tracking, and nurse call automation, Versus improves patient flow and documentation of caregiver and patient interactions, while enhancing communication and efficiency. Exclusively endorsed by the American Hospital Association, the Versus infrared (IR) and Active RFID solution is responsible for clinical-grade location and automation at hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities worldwide. To learn more about Versus Technology, Inc. (OTC Pink: VSTI), our technology and client successes, visit

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