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 Gets Waterproofed

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Nov 02, 2010 @ 07:30 AM

Tags: RFID, Wristband Tags, Access Control, Attendance Management

Helps Control Crowds at the Pool and More

Caddy DayPossibly inspired in part by the Livestrong bracelets, some companies have invented waterproof RFID wristbands for a variety of purposes. One that has received some attention is the 13.56 MHz RFID waterproof wristband tag by GAO RFID. Going hand-in-hand with this month’s theme of identifying, locating and tracking people, this product was made to help manage attendance in swimming pools. The tags are also used to monitor saunas and outdoor water parks. As the number of people increases for any type of water activity, so do the risk factors, so club owners may find this appealing because it could potentially help limit their liability.  And with that could come lower insurance premiums.

The tag can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 70 degrees Celsius and is resistant to vibration that might be caused when a person jumps into the water. An added bonus - clubs and parks can use it as an advertising tool because names, logos and graphics can be printed on the wristbands.  Because of their sturdy design and versatility, the RFID wristbands could also be used to manage swimmers at camp and students on field trips that may involve water sports. I’m pretty sure the owner of my gym would like it so he could better manage time slots at the pool, giving families and avid lap swimmers their turn without the usual hassle.  

Not sure about you, but I just got an image of “Caddy Day,” when I thought of trying to keep the number of excited pool goers to a controlled amount. The lifeguard in Caddyshack could certainly have used some RFID assistance to instill some order and safety!

Synometrix took the waterproofing a step further and combined that feature with being disposable, geared toward medical facilities. These seem like they would be perfect for monitoring newborns in the maternity ward and several other healthcare applications (more on this topic in a future post). These disposable tags also lend themselves nicely to managing access at large events, like concerts with general admission where crowd control can be an issue.

We’re in the digital age, so we shouldn’t need to have a group life guards or a ticket collectors manning turnstiles struggling to manage crowds and the safety of each individual. We’re beyond that - with the help of RFID.

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