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Can RFID Locate Doctors and Nurses in Real Time?

Posted By RFID Journal, 10.29.2010
Our hospital in Mumbai wants to implement an RFID system whereby we could locate a particular doctor or nurse in real time. That way, if an emergency occurs, we can search for that individual immediately. Does any company provide such a solution?


I don't believe any company has developed a system specifically designed to locate doctors and nurses in real time. That said, real-time location systems (RTLS) developed to track assets can also be used to track people, and some hospitals and clinics are using the technology in that manner.

For instance, Espirito Santo Saúde, a health-care company that runs 17 facilities across Portugal, has improved its emergency response speed and begun tracking assets with an RTLS intended to allow staff members and patients at two of its sites to obtain help in a hurry in the event of an emergency. The system includes a combination of Ekahau badges and wall-mounted call buttons that can signal alerts over the existing Wi-Fi system at the health-care company's facilities (see Wi-Fi RFID Alerts Espirito Santo Saude's Staff).

Docrates Clinic, a private facility in Helsinki, Finland, that specializes in cancer diagnostics, treatment and follow-up care, is utilizing a Wi-Fi-based RTLS not only to locate workers and patients, but also to enable communication between them. The system features RTLS software and RFID wristbands and badges from Ekahau, as well as a Wi-Fi network infrastructure (see RFID Improves Communication at Finnish Clinic).

St. Andrew's Healthcare, the United Kingdom's largest nonprofit provider of mental-health services, has implemented an RFID-based RTLS to enable employees to send alerts, and to route them to the appropriate personnel. The organization is doing so prior to the establishment of government rules expected to require U.K. mental-health facilities to install RTLS technology (see St. Andrew's Healthcare Gets Help in Real Time).

Belgian health-care provider GasthuisZusters Antwerpen (GZA) is tracking the temperatures of its refrigerators and freezers that store pharmaceuticals, tissues, blood and food across its three hospitals in Antwerp, using a Wi-Fi-based system. The next step is the implementation of a Wi-Fi staff-safety system using AeroScout T3 tags in the form of employee ID badges. In this case, workers will wear the badges while on duty, and each tag will regularly transmit its ID number to the Wi-Fi nodes in that area. The ID will be linked to that staff member in a software platform. In that way, the software will display that worker's location in real time, after using triangulation to calculate the tag's location within approximately 10 feet, based on the strength of its signal as received by specific Wi-Fi access points (see Belgian Hospitals Track Temperatures and Staff).

If any of our readers have information about other hospitals employing RTLS technologies in this way, or know of any specific systems designed for tracking doctors and nurses in real time, please post information below.

—Mark Roberti, Editor,
RFID Journal

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