Healthcare industry is highly investing in the RFID technology that it is estimated to reach exponential growth in the industry by 2021. The reason this technology is growing is the number of benefits it can provide. If we go into the hospital industry, it could benefit to tracking surgical tools, to tracking patients and the staff.
Here are the seven ways RFID can be deployed in the hospitals to improve the operations:
Medicine & Pharmaceuticals
RFID is best suited for tracking RFID for tracking assets, especially liquids, which are hard to track. Special RFID tags are readily available to track liquid assets, mostly in pharmaceutical industry where the demand is high.
Hospitals have large demand of medicines that must be tracked in order for proper treatment of patients. Typically inventory tracking is done manually which takes time and labor. With RFID the process of inventory tracking improves radically. Each bottle or box is tagged with the RFID tags, which can be read using the handheld readers, fixed readers, or desktop readers.
RFID technology is also used for the authentication purposes by the hospitals and the pharmaceutical manufactures. Counterfeiting is a common problem with prescriptive and live saving medications. So many companies have chosen RFID for tackling counterfeit of medicines. They do this by placing a RFID tag inside the box within the box, and encrypting it with special code, that can be verified when they arrive at the hospital, if they are authentic.
Patient & Staff Tracking
For people tracking, currently passive RFID technology is used, along with the instances of active RFID technology, and staff.
RFID technology is used in the hospitals for primarily three reasons:
- To find the location of the patients
- Verify the patient of the information
- Reduce the wait times and bottlenecks
RFID wristbands are used for the tracking purposes of the maintaining and verifying patient’s records. The records are stored in the wristband’s chip. RFID based wristbands are best for patients because, it can help in giving right medications to patients and ensuring that patient is not sent to the wrong area in the hospital.
Active RFID is also used to track staff and patients. Active Real time location system (RTLS) is also used to identify problems in the workflow, mainly used to move the patients in and out in a better way. With RTLS badges, it can be identified how long have been in certain area and reports that data to the management team.
Active real time location system can also be used to track newborn babies. It can save child from the abduction. The hospital places RFID tags on the infant’s legs in order to track the infant abduction. When a child is found near the exit door, it will alert an alarm.
Tool tracking with Sterilization & Autoclave/Returnable Asset Tracking
All the surgical tools like scalpels, scissors, clamps and retractors are needed for surgeries daily; so these equipments need to be properly cleaned and disinfected, and ready to use. Shortage of tools is less dangerous than not dealt with these checks. With RFID we can track that RFID tag is sterilized for the prior use. A properly implemented tool shed light on sterilization, methods for individual tools. Not only tracking these items with RFID tags ensure that each sterilized before using, thereby tracking individual tools.
Items for single use
Out of stocks and inventory tracking
For tracking single use items, boxes of gloves, exam papers, RFID inlays are used. RFID inlays are very cost-effective inventory solution for single-use items that are stored in the inventory rooms, shelving units or vending machines fitted with RFID.
For tracking the single use items, some hospitals prefer to keep record that the item to ensure that the inventory is used properly. This is where tracking personnel using RFID tags can be used along with the inventory tracking application.
Hospitals beds and portable machines are high-value items that go rarely get misplaced that can rarely get missing. Keeping track of these items is very important, because they are very costly. Using the RFID system, is an ideal way to keep track of these assets within the building.
Because of the expensive and critical nature of these assets, if an RFID system is deployed, hospitals typically use an active RFID Real-Time Location System (RTLS) to know where they are at all times. Hospitals can either implement the system to read only certain areas or rooms, while others setup their systems to cover entire hallways or floors.
Access Control /People Tracking
Security is another aspect of tracking people that hospitals use to limit access to specific areas to prevent people from wandering around the facility. With this type of system, the staff members must wave or tap their RID-enabled badges in front of door readers in order to gain access. Not only does this prevent unauthorized access to restricted areas, but it provides patients, medicine, and medical equipment with a level of security that deters theft or damage.
Laundry items like towels, blankets, and sheets are other few things of linen and textiles that are common in every hospital rooms. Each of the clothing items must be washed properly for the next patient. Any efficient way to keep track of these items must be washed for the use of next patient. The way to check if the clothing items is washed or not is through RFID laundry tags