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Combining E-paper and NFC RFID Technologies to Enhance Medical Asset Management and Tracking

The need for specialized scanners with wireless tag technology has resulted in far slower market uptake than was originally envisaged; there is a great deal of scope for e-paper to help make up the shortfall.
By Scott Soong

Using EPDs in Health Care
Incorporating both EPDs and wireless location-tracking technology into hospital beds can help medical staff to identify a patient, know where he or she needs to be taken and what treatment that individual is to be given. The same technology could be used to tag organs and other items that need to be moved around the hospital. This location information can be used to inform medical personnel of a patient's or item's current location, so they can be fully prepared when the individual or item arrives. When they do, the EPD can confirm that they have the right person or object, as well as provide the critical data they require to proceed.

In situations for which the cost of what you're tracking is high—as is the case with vaccines or donated organs—it's relatively straightforward to justify the investment in technology that helps protect against the loss or spoilage of these items. The same is true in a hospital environment, when you consider the risk of legal action if a patient is incorrectly identified and accidentally given the wrong treatment.

This technology is equally well-suited to other asset-management contexts, such as the storing of laboratory equipment or test instrumentation. Here, the wireless tagging element provides each item's exact location at any given time, while the EPD enables warehouse workers to view data such as when it was last serviced or calibrated. There is even the option here to restrict the updating of the EPD to certain authorized personnel, to minimize the prospect of erroneous information being recorded.

An Ideal Complement for NFC RFID Tags
The need to use a specialized scanner with wireless tag technology has resulted in far slower market uptake than was originally envisaged. As this article explains, there is a great deal of scope for e-paper to help make up the shortfall. It presents engineers with a highly effective complementary technology for NFC RFID technology, thanks to its ability to provide human-readable information without the need for additional equipment. Moreover, it has very little impact on the tag's power budget, unlike a TFT LCD would.

EPD specialist Pervasive Displays is collaborating with recognized leaders in NFC RFID technology to position itself at the forefront of such deployments—supplying integrated solutions that add the extra dimension to wireless tags, which will drive this sector forward.

Scott Soong is the CEO of Pervasive Displays and has more than a decade of experience in software, in addition to 12 years working in displays businesses. During his career, Scott has been a founding partner at four startup companies, including Pervasive Displays. Scott sits on the board of several other technology businesses as a consulting partner. He was a board member of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which looks to provide children in developing countries with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. Scott has an MBA degree from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a BA degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

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