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Stanley Healthcare Releases Wi-Fi Version of Hugs Infant Protection System

The newest version of Hugs uses a hospital's existing Wi-Fi access points, making it more affordable to deploy, and can also monitor the storage temperature of breast milk and medications.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 09, 2013

Stanley Healthcare has released a new version of its Hugs Infant Protection System, a tracking solution enabling hospitals to locate tags on babies, as well as identify when those tags may be leaving an authorized area, or come into contact with the wrong mother. Earlier versions of the system employed proprietary active radio frequency identification tags and required the installation of a network of proprietary readers, which often made covering areas beyond the obstetrics department prohibitively expensive. The latest generation leverages a hospital's existing Wi-Fi network, thereby allowing a customer to expand a system to an entire health-care facility or campus.

The new version of the Hugs Infant Protection System also includes temperature- and asset-tracking functionality, which can be used, for example, to ensure that breast milk is stored within a safe temperature range. All data is managed by Stanley Healthcare's AeroScout MobileView software—a software platform and graphical user interface for real-time location system (RTLS) solutions used with Stanley Healthcare's asset-management and patient-flow tracking solutions. (The previous version of Hugs did not come with the MobileView platform).

Stanley Healthcare's new Wi-Fi Hugs tag

Hospitals already using the MobileView platform for tracking assets or monitoring temperatures within their facilities could simply add on the Hugs solution, says Diane Hosson, Stanley Healthcare's director of security solutions for acute and long-term care. Medical facilities already utilizing the older proprietary Hugs RFID technology could expand the system via their Wi-Fi network, and continue to use the proprietary RFID technology in areas where it was already installed.

The original Hugs solution, which the company acquired in 2008 (see Stanley Bolsters RFID Portfolio With VeriChip Subsidiary), is currently in use at more than 1,300 hospitals worldwide, Hosson reports. The tag, attached to a newborn's ankle via a strap, transmits its unique identifier once every 10 seconds to a network of RFID readers, while low-frequency (LF) exciters installed at doorways, elevators and other locations prompt the tag to transmit an alert signal. That alert can trigger the sounding of audible alarms or other actions, such as the closing and locking of doors, in order to ensure that a baby is not removed from a maternity ward or other authorized area. These same features are also present in the latest Wi-Fi version of Hugs.

The Hugs system also includes an optional component known as Kisses that employs LF RFID technology to ensure that an infant is not handed to the wrong mother. In this case, the mother wears a Kisses wristband with a built-in LF RFID transmitter that communicates with the infant's own Hugs tag. If the child's tag recognizes the mother's ID as correct, a lullaby is played. If it determines the match is incorrect, it sounds an audible alert and sends an alarm message to the server via an active RFID transmission.

Following its acquisition of AeroScout in 2012 (see Stanley Healthcare Solutions Acquires Wi-Fi-based RTLS Company AeroScout), Stanley Healthcare decided this year to offer the solution as part of its Wi-Fi-enabled technology products. This enables the system to be part of the MobileView platform used for tracking assets or temperatures.

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