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With Thousands of Paper Records to Manage, U.K. Hospital Gets Help From RFID

After adopting 6PM's iFIT solution, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust reduced the hours needed to retrieve and put away patient files by 80 percent.
By Claire Swedberg

Problems could still arise with the iFIT system, Wrightman says. For example, a file could be removed from a shelf, and then be placed on another shelf without the system being updated, which would make the file virtually impossible to locate. In this case, he notes, a user could simply input the patient file ID into the handheld RFID reader, which could then indicate when he or she had come within range of that file.

The CareSolutions software can provide such services as sending staff members an alert when a file has not been returned by the expected date. Workers can then begin walking through the facility with a handheld in Geiger counter mode, and can typically read the missing file's RFID tag—even if the staff member is standing in the hallway and the file is in a patient room—thereby making it possible to seek a file without disturbing patients.

6PM's Steve Wightman

"RFID tags, scanners and sensors [readers] enable a more automated approach," Brown states. The iFIT system, she says, is "speedier and more accurate," enabling staff members to place files "virtually anywhere and still find their location."

In some cases, Wightman says, hospitals will be installing fixed RFID readers in such locations as egresses between wings. In that way, the system is updated every time an individual walks from one wing to another, indicating in which wing the file is located.

According to Wightman, the hospitals are installing the RFID system for records management first, but have indicated that they expect to expand the technology to also include the tracking of assets, personnel or high-risk patients. RFID read data from assets or individuals could also be managed with the iFIT system, he adds.

USER COMMENTS

kofi nti 2013-12-03 01:57:33 PM
I like this system. However, I would like to ask, since there the files can now be put anywhere, can there be a system where the rfid reader can locate the specific tag it is communicating with, by throwing a light (infrared or laser light) directly onto the tag. are there readers like that? I am just becoming curious, because i am interested in developing something that works that way.

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