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Belgium Hospital Combines RFID, Sensors to Monitor Heart Patients

University Hospital of Ghent is implementing a system that detects when a patient is having cardiac distress and sends caregivers an alert indicating the patient's location.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 06, 2007University Hospital of Ghent in Belgium, is implementing an RFID-based real-time locating system (RTLS) to provide nurses and other caregivers with a patient's location in the event of an emergency.

"We wanted to install a location/tracking system to be able to quickly localize machines and patients," says Bart Sijnave, CIO at the University Hospital of Ghent. "The new system saves a lot of time for both doctors and nurses so they can spend precious time effectively caring for patients instead of having to track down equipment and/or patients."

Bart Sijnave
The 1,000-bed hospital is using AeroScout T2 active Wi-Fi tags, which transmit 2.4 GHz signals carrying the tags' unique ID numbers to the hospital's Wi-Fi network, which consists of Cisco Aironet access points, and a Cisco 2710 Wireless Location Appliance that computes the tags' location. AeroScout Exciters, deployed in rooms, hallways, nurse stations and other areas throughout the hospital, trigger the tags to emit their signal. In addition, the hospital is installing AeroScout's MobileView software, which associates a tag's ID with a patient, and Emergin's Enterprise Bus Service (EBS) application, which packages information from MobileView into messages that can be delivered to nurses carrying Cisco IP phones.

The AeroScout T2 tags are joined to Wi-Fi-enabled heart monitors worn by at-risk cardiology patients. The heart monitor is linked to a specific patient in the EBS software. The T2 tag is linked to a specific patient in the MobileView. Correlation is done in the EBS software. If a monitor detects a patient is in distress, it sends an alert to the Cisco Access Points. The Enterprise Bus Service then polls the AeroScout MobileView for the tagged monitor's and associated patient's location. According to Sijnave, all cardiology patients who need to be monitored constantly will eventually use the tags.

"Then the Emergin system sends all that information together to the Cisco phones, which are carried by nurses who have responsibility for those patients," says Josh Slobin, AeroScout's director of marketing.

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