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Borda Technology Markets Active and Passive RFID Health-care Solution in the U.S.

The company's system, already in use at hospitals in Turkey, includes both passive and active tags for tracking patients, personnel and assets—all managed on a single software platform.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 18, 2014

Turkish RFID startup Borda Technology has begun marketing its asset-management and real-time location system (RTLS) solutions for the health-care market in the United States, while the technology is currently in use in Istanbul. The company's asset-management solutions employ passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags and handheld readers, while the RTLS combines passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID technology and Borda's active RFID products. Both solutions employ Borda's Lighthouse software platform. The combination of RTLS and passive RFID technologies, the company reports, is less expensive than a purely RTLS solution in which high-cost active tags are used for all assets, whether or not the items themselves are of high value.

The company, headquartered in Istanbul, also opened an office in Florida, from which it has begun marketing the Lighthouse solution to help track both assets and individuals (staff members and patients), in order to improve enterprise-wide efficiency. To date, the Lighthouse system has been adopted by Turkey's Medical Park Hospitals Group, and is installed at two of the group's medical facilities in Istanbul, while installation is presently underway at four additional locations, with a total of 17 hospitals scheduled to undergo installation during the next year or so.

The Lighthouse solution includes active 433 MHz RFID tags that can be attached to patient wristbands, in order to track their locations in real time.
Borda Technology was founded in 2007 in Istanbul by two brothers, Akin and Erdem Altunbas, along with Enes Cavli, the company's CTO. The three men began working together at Istanbul Technical University in 2003, completing a variety of academic RFID-based projects. The company opened a U.S. office at the University of South Florida (USF) Polytechnic, in Lakeland, Fla., in 2010, and then moved it to USF's Connect Tampa campus the following year. The company has 28 employees, two of whom are now permanently located in the Tampa office, with the rest in Turkey.

The founders launched their firm with the intention of developing hardware and software products to help institutions run their operations much more efficiently. As they developed their products, Akin Altunbas says, the three men realized "that by using technology for tracking assets and patients at a hospital, we can not only help them to run their operations much more efficiently, but also save lives. This is the point where we started on focusing on standards-based RTLS solutions in the health-care industry."

Borda Technology has been developing RFID solutions at its R&D location at Istanbul Technical University, as well as at USF. Its first installation has been with the Medical Park Hospitals Group, which operates 17 hospitals throughout the country, housing a total of 2,771 beds.

In 2009, Medical Park Hospitals' IT department began seeking an RTLS vendor to provide a system that would help it manage assets throughout its facilities. In so doing, it came across the new Istanbul-based startup. The group then began working with Borda Technologies, Altunbas says, and Borda recommended deploying a hybrid solution. Passive EPC Gen 2 tags, being less expensive, could be placed on every asset within a health-care facility, and be tracked according to zones set up at that facility, he explains. Borda installed 80 fixed readers and 300 antennas at the hospital, in addition to providing two handheld readers, and also created 80 zones for passive tracking, in order to identify when assets were moved from one area of the building to another.

For tracking patients and personnel, the solution utilizes active 433 MHz RFID tags compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard. In the case of passive RFID tag tracking, Altunbas reports, the system has reduced the amount of labor time workers previously spent counting assets from three or four weeks down to only one or two days, and with more accurate results. The first installation took place at the Medical Park Goztepe Hospital Complex, and the company is currently in the process of installing the technology at all 17 hospitals, as well as at the new facility, beginning with the passive asset-management solution.

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