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Hospital Manages Thousands of Patient Files with RFID

Capital Health System, an acute-care and teaching hospital located in Trenton, New Jersey, today announced its implementation of a patient record management solution from Infolinx Systems Solutions based on Gen2 RFID tags and readers from hardware manufacturer Intermec.
Aug 01, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 1, 2007—Capital Health System, an acute-care and teaching hospital located in Trenton, New Jersey, today announced its implementation of a patient record management solution from Infolinx Systems Solutions based on Gen2 RFID tags and readers from hardware manufacturer Intermec.

Capital Health System sought both increased efficiency and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which placed heightened importance on patient information management when it was passed in 1996. The hospital targeted its Sleep Centers, which provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment for patients experiencing sleep-related problems.

The Centers manage 5,000 patient files. Each file is tagged with a Gen2 RFID tag from Intermec, allowing it to be tracked from the moment it is created for a new patient all the way until the file is retained in storage. Intermec IF4 fixed readers are positioned in key locations around the center to enable automatic tracking and encoding of the tags as they are moved from one place to another. Reads and writes to the tags are dynamically updated in the central database, ensuring real-time, accurate location data. The centers also have a series of handheld readers for routine inventory and locating misplaced files.

The administrative director for the Sleep Centers, Rita Brooks, was quoted, "The Intermec/Infolinx RFID system completely automates the file tracking process, so our staff spends much less time managing files. We've seen a significant decrease in misplaced files since we've implemented the solution, which has improved the efficiency of our operations."

Infolinx specializes in document management solutions, offering both RFID and bar code solutions, depending on the application. "RFID is the ideal technology to automate the tracking and management of patient files," said Infolinx business development director Chip Benson. "The RFID-based solution at Capital Health's Sleep Centers provides a single system to manage the significant amount of meta data for the patient demographics and the physical life cycle of the patient chart."

RFID document and file tracking has seen gradual adoption over the years, but it remains far from widespread. Technological challenges have been one hurdle, including poor read performance that results from tags being sandwiched closely together when tagged files are stacked. Solutions like Magellan Technology's StackTag have begun to address this issue.

3M is probably the most recognized RFID file tracking solutions provider. The company offers a packaged file tracking solution and has released a steady stream of announcements of new deployments (see US Government Expands RFID File Tracking).

Read the announcement from Intermec
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