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RFID Patient ID System Yields Immediate Benefit

HP and Precision Dynamics Corporation today announed the deployment of a comprehensive RFID-based patient management system at the Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. The system offers the facility a raft of benefits and has already realized positive results in terms of patient identification.
Jan 04, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 4, 2007—HP and Precision Dynamics Corporation (PDC) today announced the deployment of a comprehensive RFID-based patient management system at the Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) in Taiwan. The system offers the medical facility a raft of benefits and has already realized positive results in patient identification.

Paramount among the benefits is improved patient safety, which is achieved through various channels. Patients are given wristbands with embedded RFID chips that serve to increase the accuracy of patient identification and decrease the risk of so-called "wrong-site" and "wrong-patient" surgery, in which the incorrect operation is performed on the correct patient, or the correct operation is performed on the incorrect patient. Under the new system, CGMH has realized 100% accurate patient identification in the operating room. "We have not had any patient identification errors since implementing the new RFID system -- a significant accomplishment," said CGMH's chief information officer Joseph Ho.

The system also automates data gathering, which cuts down on the human error that resulted from the earlier necessity to orally communicate or manually enter patient data. This automation also yields better compliance with standard operating procedures. Alerts are generated in real-time when the sequence of a prescribed process goes amiss.

In addition to improved accuracy, the HP-PDC system brings improved efficiency. Medical staff now spend 4.3 minutes less verifying patient data. This figure multiplied across hundreds or even thousands of daily patients (CGMH is part of a 8,800-bed healthcare system) can bring dramatic savings and, ultimately, better healthcare.

Lastly, the RFID wristbands afford better patient privacy in that the confidential and often sensitive medical information is stored on the RFID chip rather than printed in full view on the band itself.

The wristbands are from PDC, for whom wristband identification is a core competency. The California-based company offers solutions based on both bar codes and RFID to a number of markets, including healthcare, hospitality, entertainment/recreation, law enforcement, and deathcare. In March the company announced a major RFID wristband deployment at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, a mountainous region in Pennsylvania popular among tourists (see RFID Goes to the Poconos).

HP, for its part, has demonstrated a diversified range of initiatives related to RFID. Its PC manufacturing plant in São Paolo, Brazil, is a showcase of RFID-based process engineering (see RFID at the Item -- For Some, Sooner Than Later), while its server-tagging solution for data centers announced in October was in innovation in asset tracking. The company created a stir in July with the invention of Memory Spot, a tiny wireless microchip capable of high storage and data transfer speeds. While initially seen as a possible threat to RFID, the Memory Spot was later perceived to be an early-stage technology suited for multimedia applications not typically associated with RFID (see Gen2 RFID Versus the New Hewlett-Packard Chip).

Read the announcement from HP and Precision Dynamics
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