Leading Oncology Clinics Recognize Merits of RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 @ 09:55 AM

XECAN RFIDThe state of Massachusetts has long been considered a hub for technology innovation and medical research. So, it’s no wonder that RFID linked the two together in our own backyard.

Recently, ThingMagic announced that several leading oncology clinics had deployed RFID solutions in order to improve patient safety and radiation treatment reliability. In the cases of Commonwealth Newburyport Cancer Center, Lahey Clinic and Jordan Hospital, they looked to RFID to help eliminate “wrong patient, wrong treatment,” commonly associated with human error.

The cure has arrived! No, it’s not medicine. It’s innovation with RFID. In the image to the left, a Jordan Hospital patient is wearing a XECAN lanyard with an RFID badge. When the patient walks into a CT scan room he is identified automatically by a ThingMagic Astra UHF RFID Reader installed in that room. Because of the extended read range of the reader, patients need only pass within approximately 15 feet to be recognized. Not to worry. Patient-identifiable information can only be viewed within the clinic, and only by authorized staff members.

When the patient's badge is read, their chart and treatment plan are immediately opened by the XECAN system. If another patient’s chart is open in the system at the time the new patient arrives at the CT scan room, the first chart is closed and the chart of the patient who is physically present is automatically opened. Treatment devices are also tagged so that they can be detected by ThingMagic Astra readers during treatment. Radiation cannot be started if treatment devices are incorrect or missing. Thi added measure of reliability delivered by the XECAN system gives patients and doctors peace of mind.

By automatically identifying the patient, the system eliminates the need for the patient to correct the spelling of their name or reiterate their appointment time, for example, when they have already signed up for an emotionally and physically taxing day. Reducing the manual tasks of the hospital staff allows them to spend more quality time with the patients.

In this application, RFID also replaces ID cards with barcodes which can often be cumbersome for the patients to scan if they’ve become worn.

When you put it all together – fewer manual tasks for clinicians, peace of mind for the patient and improved reliability for the doctors - the oncology clinics mentioned can offer a far more inviting medical experience. The situation allows for a more successful treatment. And who wouldn’t want that?

If you would like more information about this deployment, please download our case study:

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We plan to check in with these Massachusetts clinics in a few months to see how the implementation is going and if they’ve discovered even more unexpected benefits from using the RFID system.

We're also interested in your thoughts about the use of RFID in healthcare.  Where to you think it will have the most impact? What RFID-based systems are most effective? Is it best to start with small departmental deployments and scale or go for a full enterprise-wide deployment from the start?

Tags: RFID, Asset Tracking, Healthcare, Patient Tracking, Access Control, Document Management

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