RFID Gives Surgeons Second Set of Eyes

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 12:20 PM

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Oncology

Helps Locate Breast Tumors During Surgery with Precision, Without Risk of Infection

SensoRXOne of the first blog posts in this campaign described how RFID can be used to create a more pleasant environment for cancer patients by having their favorite things, such as music and picturesque scenes, surround them as they enter the clinic. In fact, it’s the most popular post yet.  

RFID is again improving the healthcare experience of cancer patients, but in a very different way. SenoRx, has submitted a patent for an RFID-based system that will give radiologists a more precise way for marking a tumor's location for the surgeon. In this proposed process, the RFID tag, which is about the size of a grain of rice, would be inserted into the tumor. This new way of locating a tumor could potentially reduce the risk of infection and help surgeons locate lesions faster and more accurately. 

The way it happens now is that a patient goes through a one-day long appointment where the radiologist inserts a wire into the lesion, with one end protruding from the breast to mark its location. The surgeon can then follow the length of wire to pinpoint the specific location of the tumor. This procedure usually requires a patient to schedule both radiological and surgical procedures on the same day the wire is inserted to prevent infection that could be introduced by the wire and leave little time for the wire to be dislodged.

However, with RFID, the tag would not move. And because it can be inserted up to seven days prior to surgery, the patient may be able to have it done in conjunction with a regular radiology appointment. For example, while the radiologist examines a patient, he would use a needle injector to insert the RFID tag in the center of the tumor. The surgeon then uses a reader with a probe to detect the tag. A screen on the reader presents the tag's unique ID number, and a sound signal is used to indicate when the reader senses the tag, which gets louder as it gets closer. 

According to a SenoRx Form-10, the device has not yet been approved by the FDA. With the number of uses of RFID in healthcare growing, it is no surprise that the aforementioned post Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID is one of the most popular posts on our blog.  We’d love your thoughts on today’s post too!

Oncology Solution Uses RFID to Improve Patient Experience

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 @ 11:36 AM

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Oncology

Because it Takes More Than Courage to Beat Cancer

This week in Boston is an important one.  On Thursday, Aug. 19 and Friday, Aug. 20, local sports radio network WEEI and the New England Sports Network (NESN) are teaming up to host the 9th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon.

The tradition began in 2002 when WEEI teamed up with the Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund to broadcast an 18-hour radiothon to help fight cancer in children and adults.  This first event raised $325,000 in one day.  In 2003, NESN joined and the 2nd annual event raised more than $1 million. Over the past eight years, this event has raised more than $21 million for research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  As in the past, this year’s 36-hour broadcast features interviews with Dana-Farber patients, doctors, researchers and nurses, and believe me, it makes for an emotional drive time.  The groups have a goal of raising $5 million during this week’s activities.

As covered in a recent ThingMagic whitepaper, hospitals have been early adopters of new technologies such as RFID to deliver the best patient care possible.  RFID helps hospitals answer the most fundamental questions of knowing who and where its patients and resources are.  With this data, hospitals can enhance a number of processes related to asset management, patient tracking and throughput, inventory control, patient-centric services, and infection control.

With RFID able to support such a wide range of healthcare applications, it is not a surprise that several RFID-enabled innovations have emerged in the area of cancer treatment (see an earlier ThingMagic blog post detailing how The Disney Family Cancer Center has deployed an RFID-enabled system that enhances patient treatment experiences).  In a similar effort to create a better treatment experience for cancer patients, ThingMagic partner XECAN offers an RFID oncology solution deigned to improve the operational efficiency of hospitals. XECAN’s RFID oncology solution enables automated patient queuing, patient chart and treatment plan opening, and accessory verification for treatment devices – delivering new efficiencies in radiation therapy.

XECANWith this solution, patients are greeted as soon as they walk into the clinic and their arrivals are automatically queued in the EMR scheduler with no need for bar-code scanning - creating a personalized experience and reducing wait times. Through this integration with the hospital's EMR system, as soon as patients enter a CT Sim or radiation vault, their personal treatment charts or treatment plans are opened.  Further, the XECAN oncology solution supports the tracking and management of treatment devices such as thermoplastic masks, headrests, breast-boards, belly-boards, vac-lok cushions, custom block, and compensator trays.  XECAN’s fixed and handheld RFID readers allow hospital staff to track where these devices are located in order to provide an efficient care experience.

Casting a broad net, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon has only two criteria for taking donations - you can donate if you know someone who has battled cancer.  Or, you can donate if you don’t know anyone who has battled cancer.  From the fundraising power of the talking heads on radio and TV to the innovations delivered by today’s technology experts, we’re moving a few steps closer to prevent, treat, and cure cancer.

What other types of patient-centric applications would you like to see made possible? Respond with your ideas here.

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