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PointRF Adds Moisture-Sensing Diapers and Two-Way Tags to Its RFID Lineup

The new products are part of the NoWander solution, which enables a nursing facility to know where its patients are and if they have fallen, as well as analyze patient activity.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 01, 2013For the past year, PointRF Solutions has been offering technology for use at long-term care facilities, aimed at improving safety, security and business intelligence for patient care, while also allowing patients freedom of movement. For example, the company's NoWander tracking solution enables a nursing facility to know where its patients are—not only for real-time security, but also for analytics to evaluate each person's health, based on his or her movement behavior. PointRF's SafeTSense bed pads and floor mats with built-in RFID tags and sensors transmit data regarding when a patient is in bed or seated in a wheelchair, or if that individual has fallen.

The latest offering—the SafeTSense Variable Wetness Sensing Diaper system—is a module within the NoWander solution that enables nursing facilities to know when a patient's diaper needs to be changed. This solution is presently being tested by several nursing facilities, according to Matthew Riccoboni, PointRF's marketing VP.

In addition, the company is releasing a new RFID tag that can store data, as well as transmit and receive information from other tags when the NoWander system is offline—for example, if a patient wearing an RFID wristband leaves a facility for a doctor's visit, or in the event that a building suffers a power outage. The tag can be queried by another RFID tag attached to a tablet device, for instance, or via an RFID tag built into another patient's wristband or a physician's badge. In all cases, the hardware is manufactured by PointRF, which also supplies an end user with its Dynamic Positioning System software that includes an enterprise dashboard and a reporting engine, which can also be integrated with a user's existing management software.

The company's focus, says Richard Bauer, PointRF's president and CEO, is on using RFID-based intelligence to predict events and prevent incidents, such as injuries or deteriorating health. "Primarily," he says, "we are a business-intelligence company" that takes patient security to another level, "by predicting events before they happen," as well as by preventing future illnesses, adverse conditions or falls, based on identifying behavior that could indicate an impending problem. The company is developing its own technology organically, he says, based on the needs of its end users, which currently comprise approximately 19 long-term care facilities within the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.

PointRF produces a diaper with an embedded sensor strip that extends from the front to the back of the diaper, and is able to detect the presence of moisture. A battery-powered, active 433 MHz tag, also manufactured by PointRF, is clipped to the diaper's front or back, thereby creating a contact between the sensor strip and the tag. The RFID tag's ID number is inputted into the system's software, where it is linked to the individual patient or resident who will be wearing the tag. If the sensor detects moisture, that change in status is received by the tag, which transmits the sensor's detection to RFID readers installed in the vicinity, using a proprietary air-interface protocol. The interrogators then forward that data to the back-end system, where software determines whose diaper requires changing, and displays that information for workers or issues an alert via e-mail or text message.

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