Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:47 AM

“It’s Like Angels Singing”

Who likes going to the doctor’s office or hospital?  We all have an image formed from years of wasting time in waiting rooms reading 3-year-old magazines, then being in colorless treatment rooms that are either too cold or too hot.  That only adds to the anxiety that already exists from being there in the first place.

Imagine if instead you looked forward to going to the hospital because it helps you relax.  Sound crazy?

“I walked through these doors and I swear it was like angels singing. I’m not a really spiritual person, but this is so beautiful the way it puts you at ease by diverting your mind from your treatment and using nature to help you relax.” These are the actual words of a patient being treated at The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, California.

In Tuesday’s post, we introduced the concept of patient-centric applications that deliver a valuable and unique user experience in ways that could not be done economically or aesthetically without RFID. Point-of-care solutions and services, automated pharmaceutical receipt & distribution and automated admissions, discharge and transfer; all may sound fairly routine on the surface. What is most important, however, is the patient experience.  Consider a cancer patient whose treatment experience is enhanced because the environment (temperature, lighting, music, etc) changes to their liking by simply walking through the hospital door. Futuristic? Nope. It’s already happening.

With Passive RFID, everything happens behind the scenes so it’s not disruptive to patients and it doesn’t create extra steps for physicians and hospital administrators. In fact it does just the opposite by streamlining very complex workflows. The technology becomes invisible and the experience it makes possible has a positive impact on each patient’s state of mind as they undergo an emotionally and physically draining experience. It can put them on a faster road to recovery. 

That may sound too good to be true. So, how does it work?

At The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, RFID-enabled identification badges worn by patients hold information on his or her favorite colors, music and vacation spots, as well as the items critical to fostering a smooth process like billing, pharmaceutical, scheduling, and doctor information. Once a patient walks through a door, the RFID reader identifies the patient and alerts a concierge who immediately greets them and directs them to their next appointment. That’s the way it should be. Patients in these serious medical situations shouldn’t have to question whether they are in the right room, wait unnecessarily for prescription medications or dispute a billing mistake. 

Disney Family Cancer Center Disney Family Cancer Center








And there is an added bonus to implementing Passive RFID in healthcare settings. It can streamline communications between clinicians, patients and administrators. Doctors can greet people immediately upon arrival because patient names are sent to their VoIP phones when they enter the facility. And no more sitting in stark waiting rooms wondering when it’ll be their turn. Patients can be located via their ID badges, so they can walk around the facility or go outside while they wait.

View Images of The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center’s deployment of RFID technology used to enhance patient experiences and increase efficiencies published by InformationWeek.

What other types of patient-centric applications would you like to see made possible? It may not be as far off as you think. Please respond with your ideas here. 

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Patient Tracking

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