UHF is the Magic Pill for RFID in Healthcare

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 02:19 PM

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Embedded RFID, Pharmaceutical Tracking, Inventory Management, Patient Tracking, Process Control, Wristband Tags, Wander Prevention, Temperature Monitoring, Announcements

Wireless HospitalAs we look to 2012, our first major event is HIMSS and we can’t wait. The healthcare market has been at the forefront of RFID adoption, discovering a plethora of ways in which the technology can streamline operations, reduce human error and make the patient experience exponentially better.

This year HIMSS (February 20-24, Venetian Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas) will host the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion in which it will showcase a variety of technologies that work together to deliver real-time patient information to the mobile devices and tablets of physicians and hospital staff (Visit ThingMagic in KIOSK #16). Scenarios from the OR, ICU and ED and will demonstrate how information is coordinated from diverse patient care environments with Near Field Communications (NFC), RFID, RTLS (real time locating systems), sensors and wireless technologies.

RFID has proven its worth in healthcare and continues to improve procedures and enhance environments from tracking expiration dates on medication, to personalizing the experience for cancer patients, to managing inventory of critical dose medication, to helping surgeons locate tumors.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report, RFID: Unlocking Opportunities in the Healthcare Vertical from July 2011, “The RFID market is expected to witness a significant increase in revenues by 2017, due to its acceptability, capability, and credibility. It has taken an affirmative position in the healthcare sector owing to substantial cost savings and convenience.”

RFID’s Success in Healthcare Can Be Attributed to Passive UHF RFID

Barcodes have long been used in the hospital supply chain for tracking products, supplies and inventory control. By using barcodes on forms, wrist bands and records, healthcare providers have driven efficiencies into the patient registration process.

Passive UHF RFID can enhance or replace many supply chain management, patient registration, patient safety, clinical care, and billing workflows that currently use barcodes. While both barcodes and RFID can be used for these activities, Passive UHF RFID is more effective due to the additional automation and cost saving opportunities it delivers.  Simply put, Passive UHF RFID enables the rapid and precise measurement of almost every operation in the healthcare setting - from counting and verifying the number of items in each surgical tray to analyzing the slightest body movement.

Passive UHF RFID allows tags to be read from far away so that readers can be deployed in a variety of ways including permanent installations wired to the existing hospital Ethernet network, within strategically located “portals,” and integrated into mobile and stationary devices like carts and cabinets. This flexibility is complemented by the wide variety of Passive RFID tags that can be affixed to or integrated into consumable inventory, handheld surgical tools, patient wristbands, photo ID badges, and many other items.

Put simply, Passive RFID is the most economical way to measure a large number of parameters in healthcare setting, enabling innovative patient-centric applications that would otherwise not be implemented

Proven Uses of Passive UHF RFID Solutions Include:

Departmental Loss Prevention – proven to deliver an ROI in a short period of time by saving high value assets from being mistakenly discarded.

Asset Tracking – identifies the location and travel patterns of many types of valuable assets in real-time, resulting in reduced product loss, reduced capital equipment purchases & leases, and enhanced patient services.

Patient/Staff Tracking – tracks the travel patterns of staff, patients and personnel in real-time for access control, improved patient & staff workflows, reduced wait times, and integration into anti-abduction, wander prevention, and hand hygiene solutions.

We’re sure to see these and other uses in action at the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS. For more examples of ThingMagic in Healthcare, please download the following case studies:

Disney Family Cancer Center Case Study: The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center Implements Innovative RFID Solution to Enhance Patient Experience and Increase Efficiency

Hopefully what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas!

RFID for Wander Prevention

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Nov 05, 2010 @ 11:39 AM

Tags: RFID, RFID Wristbands, Wander Prevention, Active RFID

Providing Added Peace of Mind for Elder Care

Vuance CompanionA question posted to our Billions of Identities blog entry asked if there were solutions to track an elderly person living alone to determine if they are OK.  The answer is yes, and here is some information on that topic that may be useful.

For those of us who have had a family member or loved one suffer from Alzheimer's or some other type of dementia the experience can be painful for everyone involved.  In addition to assistance form the most patient of healthcare professionals, solutions like the Companion anti-wandering system from RFID solutions provider SuperCom (previously Vuance) can provide a new level of peace of mind.

The Companion system includes a battery powered 433 MHz active RFID tag and motion detector embedded in a plastic wristband combined with a low-profile door alarm that contains an RFID reader and infrared emitter that creates an IR field across the doorway.  The alarm device is powered by a 12 volt adapter and can be attached above a doorway to provide the desired area of coverage – about 4 feet. When a person wearing a Companion wristband moves into the IR field near a doorway an audible alarm is sounded, indicating that someone may be wandering outside of a desired area.

While this system was initially designed for in-home care, SuperCom intends to bring similar products to market for nursing homes and other facilities.  In larger facilities, the intent is to create a network of RFID readers to monitor a greater number of individuals and doorways and even integrate with software to send text alerts or pages to specified staff members.

Conceptually this same type of fully integrated system could extend to the home – providing location information, text or pager alerts and maybe even video feeds to loved ones in remote locations to help care for our elderly family and friends.

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