Making Hospitals Better With RFID

Doctors using Ipad

June 9, 2016

RFID solutions – the perfect fit for hospitals

According to research conducted in 2014, nurses are spending less than two hours of a 12 hour shift attending to hospital patients directly. They otherwise spend the rest of their shift searching for missing equipment, supplies and medications. By tracking people, equipment and supplies using RFID, hospitals can improve safety, reduce costs, and enhance the quality of care.

In fact hospitals are the perfect fit for RFID tracking solutions. Imagine all patients receive RFID wristbands when they register, all staff members have RFID chips in their badges, while all key equipment and medication is tagged with discrete RFID stickers. The efficiencies that can be gained would literally save time, money and lives.

An RFID platform was installed at PeaceHealth to help track nurses and equipment in the three-state Pacific Northwest health system. Officials say the health system has cut its “doctor to bed” time for patients in half, and reduced patients’ length of stay by almost 15 percent.

While at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, VT they recently announced that five million medications have been tracked using RFID technology. The medical center has stated that any time a system allows a hospital to track reliably from ordering through dispensing through administration at the bedside, patient safety has been greatly enhanced.

A spokesperson for the medical center said, “It’s cutting down on medication errors, ensuring that medications are given in a timely fashion, and it’s a great way to leverage technology and systems to help address human factor issues.”

RFID has also been deployed in the emergency room and operating theater to track kitted items on crash carts, pharmacy kits, and other types of bundled medicine, equipment and supplies that are taken into the surgery area. Using RFID, staff can track the contents of these kits and make sure every item is replaced before the cart or kit is put back into service.

There have been barcode labels on blood bags for years, but those labels require line-of-sight scanning. In a blood bank with thousands of bags, finding the right product quickly can be a challenge. Now that prices of RFID labels have dropped, new solutions are emerging that can provide faster scanning and item-level RFID tracking of vital blood products.

In addition, the RFID systems have been developed to track patients and staff members that might have come into the proximity of a patient with a contagious disease, quickly enabling hospitals to narrow down those who need to be quickly quarantined and treated.

On multiple applications the RFID-enabled hospital is proven to be a more efficient hospital. And a more efficient hospital is a better hospital.

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