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Can RFID Identify Hospital Patients?

Posted By RFID Journal, 04.07.2010
Are any hospitals using passive radio frequency identification technologies for positive patient identification?

— Sharon, Lakeland, Fla.


Yes—in fact, one finalist for our 2010 RFID Journal Award for the most innovative use of RFID is The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, which is doing exactly that (see Finalists Unveiled for the Fourth Annual RFID Journal Awards).

Here are some other examples:

Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH), located in Taipei, Taiwan, employs RFID-enabled patient wristbands embedded with 13.56 MHz passive RFID inlays supporting the ISO 15693 standard. Each read-write tag has sufficient capacity to store a patient's name, medical-record number, gender, age and doctor's name, and additional information can also be stored on the tag if necessary. The tag's ID number is then associated with patient records stored in the hospital's back-end information system (see Taiwan's Chang-Gung Hospital Uses HF RFID to Track Surgery).

• The Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain (BMJ) Heart Center, in Bangalore, India, utilizes passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to help maintain patient records, monitor patient flow and care, and track assets throughout the hospital's outpatient department (see Bangalore Heart Center Uses Passive RFID Cards to Track Outpatients).

Independent Dialysis Foundation (IDF), a not-for-profit operator of dialysis centers in Maryland, teamed with VeriChip to test the implantation of RFID chips in its patients, in order to make it easier to access their health records during an emergency. VeriChip created the VeriMed patient-identification system, consisting of RFID interrogators and 134 kHz RFID tags compliant with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, as well as associated software and a VeriChip-hosted patient information database (see Maryland Dialysis Center Prepares for Tag-Implantation Project).

Using passive tags in wristbands is becoming more common, because you don't have to wake patients up to get the data off the band's transponder, as you might need to do with a bar code.

—Mark Roberti, Editor,
RFID Journal

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