RFID technology has been around for years and has been adopted by many industries such as retail sector and transport sector. However, it is beginning to become more prevenient in the healthcare sector with hospitals seeing the advantages of an RFID to track and manage medical assets, specimen samples, supplies and patients.
When considering RFID technology to improve processes within a hospital, there are a number of elements to consider. Firstly, identify what process within the hospital you want to improve. Is it tracking of patients, medical assets or precious samples? Once you have defined that fundamental element, you then assess what hardware, software and barcode standards needed to achieve this.
- Hardware – The correct hardware needs to be identified that will allow you to track and manage assets. Hardware such as RFID antennas, fixed readers, and handheld readers. But also, what type of RFID tag do you require? Do you need an Active RFID tag which has an internal battery to allow it deliver a constand signal that can be picked up by the RFID Antennas? Or do you require a passive RFID tag which as no internal battery and can only be read when triggered by an RFID reader?
- Software – RFID software will need to be integrated into your existing systems and decisions would need to be made on what information you would like on the assets. Information such as the condition of the asset and real-time location of the assets.
- Barcode standards – GS1 standards would need to be considered as different barcode standards would apply to different assets and applications. Application and assets such as tracking patient with RFID wristbands would use GSRN barcode standard. Assets such as medical would use GIAI barcode standard. If you want to locate the place of an asset you would need to use GLN standard. These would need to discussed and planned out to ensure that the hospital is complying with any EU or FDA regulations.
If you would like to find out more how RFID technology can benefit your hospital them please view our webinar on “RFID Technology in Healthcare” with VisionID and GS1 Ireland.