Versus Technology Doesn’t Need to Develop RFID in Northern Michigan, But Wouldn’t Dream of Doing it Anywhere Else

Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor — 

Versus Technology is located at the base of the pinky on Michigan’s mitten, where Lake Michigan laps its tongue into the shining waters of the Grand Traverse Bay. Versus develops products that track patients, staff, and equipment for hospitals across the country, so it does not really need to be at this inconveniently located corner of the Great Lakes State.

But. Damn. It’s so beautiful up there. So, there is no place the 50 employees of Versus would rather live and work than Traverse City, MI.

If you look at major technology centers like Silicon Valley, Austin, or Research Triangle Park, says Versus CTO HT Snowday, “the thing that they have most in common is that they are really great places to live.” So, yes, travel expenses are greater than if Versus were in a major metropolitan area in the center of the country. Nevertheless, Snowday says, “We’re not going anywhere.”

More about the company’s Northern Michigan location later. First, let’s talk about what Versus does. In general, it uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and infrared (IR) tags on people and objects, along with sensors placed throughout a healthcare facility, to track, in real-time, exactly where everything in that facility is. Think of it as “GPS inside a building” with no false positives, says Snowday. “When Versus says something’s in a room, or someone’s in a room, they are there. There’s no doubt about it,” he says.

But that’s just the base, Snowday says. The real point of Versus’ system is to bring process automation to healthcare. Take, for example, the auto industry, where the Toyota production model, or lean manufacturing, is the goal. Those systems work because everything can be documented all the way down the assembly line. Transfer that to a hospital setting, and that’s where Versus comes in. Once you know where exactly everything, and everybody, is at any time, you can then begin to streamline the process.

Let’s say a doctor needs to spend 7.5 minutes with each patient. That doesn’t sound like … Next Page »

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