RFID at Hospitals


Chances are you have heard about the schools in Texas that are using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track students. But this isn’t the only place you might come into contact with RFID. From hospitals to jobsites, RFID is more commonly keeping an eye on loved ones at work and at home.

In the healthcare industry, the use of RFID is quickly becoming more widespread from tracking equipment and medications to patient identification. The need to track equipment and enhance safety is driving the use of RFID in the healthcare space.

As an example, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, www.FHWesleyChapel.org, is currently rolling out technology for a number of purposes. First up, the hospital is using a communication platform to notify appropriate staff members in the case of Code Blue and Rapid Response alerts.

The healthcare organization already deployed a system that allows families to track when caregivers enter patient rooms. Clinicians wear Wi-Fi RFID tags that recognize who they are when they enter and exit the patient’s room, allowing family members to know who has been in the room. What’s next? An RFID-enabled infant security system, which will allow the hospital to keep an eye on infants.

Tech providers continue to come to market with new RFID solutions that allows for tracking of staff, patients, and equipment. As an example, ODIN, www.odinrfid.com, announced a new solution this week designed for asset inspection. The RFID-enabled iPad solution will allow users to identify assets using RFID and enable the user to manage inspection histories on the equipment. The data is stored on the iPad until a connection is available and then systems with a Web-based application.

The use of RFID in the healthcare industry is poised for growth. Tracking medical hospital equipment is currently the largest revenue generating segment and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 17.3% between 2012 and 2018, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research, www.transparencymarketresearch.com. Tracking medication from pharmacy to patients is the second largest revenue generating segment, while blood-transfer monitoring is the fastest growing market.

As the use of RFID increases at hospitals, staff will be able to access data instantly and be able to identify the exact location of equipment, medicine, and patients.

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June/July 2014
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