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Odette Cancer Centre Boosts Throughput Via RFID

The Toronto facility is using a solution from RFID Canada and Bykart Software to inform patients of wait times, direct them to their appointments and alert staff that a patient is awaiting services.
By Claire Swedberg
May 22, 2013

The Odette Cancer Centre, part of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in Toronto, Canada, has begun employing passive high-frequency (HF) radio frequency identification tags and readers to inform visiting patients of how long they must wait prior to receiving chemotherapy treatment or other services, and to reduce the length of that wait. All patients carry an RFID-enabled ID card that helps them identify themselves as soon as they arrive, and allows the center to track their movements throughout the facility and be notified when they leave. In this way, the center intends to make visits shorter and more efficient for patients, since the health-care, pharmacy and laboratory staff members all know who is waiting at a particular location, and which services will be required next.

The Odette Cancer Centre claims to be the sixth largest cancer institution in North America, with more than 24,000 chemotherapy patient visits annually. For the past five years, Odette has used Bykart Software's Chemotherapy Appointment Reservation Manager (CHARM) software to manage appointments, as well as data that is shared between the chemotherapy unit, pharmacy and clinicians. It also displays patient updates for both patients and staff on an airport-style notification video screen. That software, according to Thane Fitzgerald, Bykart Software's director of development, has enabled the center to increase its patient throughput by 47 percent, while shortening the wait time for patients receiving services.

When a patient arrives at Odette Cancer Centre, she checks in via a kiosk by tapping her RFID card against an RFID reader.

In December 2011, the center began piloting a Bykart-designed kiosk with a Feig Electronics CPR40.30 RFID reader supplied RFID Canada. Its goal was to obtain location data and forward it to the CHARM system, thereby enabling the automated collection of location data that would help the system understand where each patient is, and thus expedite the next step. After determining that the RFID-based information could enhance the data being managed in the CHARM system, the center began providing the ID cards to new patients in summer 2012, with the solution being taken fully live as of February 2013.

Odette Cancer Centre's continued goal is to make what could be a stressful visit as quick, efficient and comfortable for patients as possible. Most visit the center regularly while undergoing chemotherapy to fight breast cancer. Chemotherapy usually requires a series of visits involving the administration of neoplastic drugs intended to destroy cancer cells.

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