RFID has made its way into almost all the day to day operations of a Healthcare facility. Let’s take a look at these areas and see how the different RFID technologies are being used and why.
RFID is being used to track and authenticate patients, from new born babies to seniors suffering from dementia and everything in between. The technologies that are being used for patient tracking include almost all the RFID technologies. LF and HF are used for applications such as bedside care and mother and baby matching. UHF is being used to monitor patient movement and establish geo-fencing as required. Active technology is a more robust form of movement and motion tracking.
Wait Time Monitoring
RFID technology is being deployed to monitor patient wait times in real time. Reusable active technology let’s an ER see exactly the number of patients in the queue and length of wait time by patient.
Medication Authentication and Control
Bedside care has leap frogged the use of bar codes and embraced RFID to ensure the right medication is given to the right patient. Nursing staff find RFID easier to work with than bar codes and realize the additional privacy that RFID brings to the process. For example, when the nurse is away from the computer on wheels (COW) administering medication to a patient the computer can be programmed to go into screen save mode thus maintaining patient information confidentiality. Bedside care RFID typically employs contact like HF technology. Nurses or meds administrators can be virtually tethered to a the COW using UHF technology.
Surgery Asset Management
The use of RFID is reducing the chance of overlooking things like sponges or other surgical kit components after an OR procedure. Many ORs are using LF technology to tag everything used in a surgery. Once the procedure has been completed the patient is scanned to make nothing has been left behind.
Monitoring the hand cleaning stations at touch points has been a way of improving compliance to hand washing protocols. Healthcare workers simply wear an RFID badge. Hand wash stations at every touch point are equipped with an RFID reader. Every time a hand wash station is used the reader records the user’s identify and length of stay in front of the reader. The accumulated data allows an organization to see how well hand washing protocol is being followed.
Read more: RFID for Handwashing in Healthcare
By using RFID to tag high demand items like pumps may institutions have reported fewer shortages of these critical items when required and less time lost searching for these items. By using UHF technology any critical piece of equipment can be tagged and tracked throughout a facility making them easy to locate when required. Asset tracking saves valuable people time as well as valuable capital funds.
Also see RFID for Asset Mangement
RFID can help an institution manage its entire supply inventory. RFID provides the real-time visibility that barcode just can’t deliver. RFID is also being used to manage shared storage areas such as locked pharma cabinets. Access to these cabinets can be restricted, controlled and audited using HF RFID. Inventories inside these cabinets can be seen real-time and from remote locations such as a supplier DC. Most back room inventory systems are using UHF technology. HF is commonly used in Smart storage cabinets.
RFID is being used for parking control by many establishments. Parking falls into two categories: Public and Reserved. Public parking is usually metered parking or pay as you go. RFID can be used to record the entry and exit time of each visit. The billing is based on the length of stay and the time of day. HF (High Frequency) RFID is most commonly used for cash transaction applications such as public pay as you go parking. Reserved parking using RFID can use a wider variety of technologies varying from HF to UHF (Ultra High Frequency) to Active technologies. UHF or Active technologies are used for the convenience of the reserved parking client. Both RFID parking solutions, public and reserved, can be implemented as anautomated, unmanned, standalone system.
Also see RFID for Parking Control
RFID is used by many establishments to control access to restricted entry and exit points as well as restricted areas within a facility. The most commonly used technologies are LF (Low Frequency) or HF because they are contact like and allow facilities to maintain a high degree selective security. Unmanned, controlled access security provides the audit trail information required for restricted access areas.
Also see RFID for Access Control
Document and File Tracking
RFID is being used to track and locate critical files such as patient charts and records. The most commonly use technology is UHF. Searching for misplaced files consumes 100’s of man hours each year.
Also see RFID for Document Tracking
A Healthcare facility is like a small city. There is a complete army of engineers that keep things running and maintained. RFID is being use to tag key service points that need regular maintenance. The RFID tag when read tells the service technician what and how to perform the service. An RFID driven maintenance program ensures all equipment is serviced on time and according to specification.
Also see RFID for Building Mangement
Whether the laundry service is outsourced or in-house RFID is being used to manage this massive and essential service. Healthcare facilities use 100s of thousands of garments. The logistics of cleaning, ironing, folding, shipping and storing laundered items would be unmanageable without RFID. Early RFID laundry applications used HF technology which is slowly being replaced by UHF technology because of read distance being greater and tag costs being lower.
RFID has completely changed the waste management game. By using RFID waste disposal companies can co-ordinate and identify all types of waste including hazardous waste. RFID helps identify and monitor all waste generated within a facility as well as track all waste removal. UHF is the most commonly used technology in waste management.
Contact Us to Find Out More
It’s safe to say RFID touches all aspects of running a modern healthcare facility. It is also clear to see that the choice of technology really depends on the task at hand. Contact GAO RFID to find out more about any of these solutions and how we can help you.