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RxTrakker Puts Patient Data in ID Bracelet

The system uses encryption and compression to store a patient's medical data on a wristband's embedded RFID tag, providing health-care workers with fast access to vital information.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 01, 2007Auto-identification and bar-code systems provider eSunTech Canada, headquartered in Windsor, Ontario, with offices in Bel Air, Md. and Detroit, has launched a new RFID-enabled system designed to provide emergency and health-care personnel with instant access to vital medical information. The system leverages 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) technology based on the ISO 15693 RFID standard, and includes software with compression capabilities, enabling customers to store a variety of information directly on each RFID transponder.

The RxTrakker system incorporates RFID transponders from Texas Instruments (TI) and mobile computers manufactured by Psion Teklogix. Each computer is equipped with a display (to view data), an alphanumeric keypad (for data entry), an RFID interrogator and a bar-code scanner. The computers use eSunTech-designed, Web-based software that interfaces with a back-end server via a wired or Wi-Fi-enabled local area network.

A wristband containing an RFID wafer and EMS logo.

The application employs an encapsulated transponder designed for tracking garments in laundries and withstanding up to 200 wash cycles. A patient's medical history can be encoded in the transponder, which can then be attached to wristbands, belts, watchbands or lanyards, or incorporated in other form factors. The RFID chip can store 2 kilobytes of data, encrypted to protect the patient's privacy.

ESunTech has implemented a proprietary encryption algorithm that prevents anyone from reading or rewriting the transponder's data without the appropriate combination of software and hardware. A typical medical history might include a patient's contact information, next of kin, doctor's contact information, blood type, medical conditions, allergies and medical insurance information.

Although the transponder has a storage capacity of only 2 kilobytes, the compression technology built into eSunTech's software enables the device to carry quite a bit of data, explains John Avalos, eSunTech's VP of sales and business development. "Other solution providers have encoded only a unique ID number on the transponder, and when the tag is read, they have to reference a database elsewhere," Avalos says. "Rather than take that approach, we've designed the software so we can encode a mini-database with medical information right onto the RFID transponder. That way, the information can be accessed immediately."

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