Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Technologies Solutions Group Markets RFID Hand-Hygiene Compliance System

The solution, using passive RFID badges from Rippedsheets.com, tracks when an individual enters a room, and then whether that worker uses a hand sanitizer.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 25, 2014

Health-care solutions company Technologies Solutions Group (TSG) is marketing a new RFID-based system for managing employees' hand-hygiene compliance. The Sani-Track system consists of a wall unit comprising a motion sensor and an RFID reader, along with readers installed in the ceiling and badges containing EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags.

The Sani-Track system has been used during a trial at an unnamed New England hospital for the past two years, as well as, more recently, at a nursing home (which has also requested to remain unnamed) as a method of preventing hospital acquired infections (HAIs) by improving the rate of staff hand-washing. Workers wear RFID badges designed and manufactured for the application by Rippedsheets.com, a Washington-based maker and printer of RFID labels, signs, tags, posters and cards.

A Sani-Track wall-mounted unit, containing a motion sensor and an RFID reader, can accommodate all models of soap and sanitizer dispensers.
According to Tom Jackson, Technologies Solutions Group's president, the facilities' existing hand-hygiene dispensers were installed onto TSG's wall-mounted Sani-Track devices, which can accommodate all models of soap and sanitizer dispensers. In addition, he says, Motorola Solutions RFID readers were mounted on the ceiling above the doorways to rooms in which the dispensers are installed.

Staff members each wear a Rippedsheets RFID badge on a lanyard or attached to a lapel. The unique ID number encoded to the badge's tag can be linked to that worker's own information if the employer wishes to track individuals. If the hospital or another institution requires more generic information, the tag ID can be linked only to a specific shift or ward. In that way, an individual user could maintain a higher level of privacy. When a staff member enters a room, such as an operating suite or a patient room, the ceiling reader captures that person's badge's tag ID number and forwards it to the Sani-Track software, which can reside either on a facility's back-end server or on a hosted, cloud-based server. The software then expects that ID to be detected again at the hand-washing dispenser.

When the individual places his or her hands immediately in front of the dispenser, the Sani-Track device senses that movement and activates its built-in RFID reader. The reader captures the tag ID and sends it to the software via a Power-over-Ethernet connection, which updates that individual's status to indicate that hand-washing has occurred. If, at any time, the software determines that a particular worker failed to wash his or her hands, that non-compliance event is stored either with the individual's name or with the more generic information, such as that person' shift or ward assignment. The hospital can then use that data to better education its staff.

TSG also offers a lower-cost, non-RFID version of the Sani-Track system, thereby reducing installation costs. In this case, the Sani-Track wall units do not read RFID badges, but simply record each dispenser use, based on motion sensor data, and every activity is then stored in the software after being sent to the server via the ZigBee mesh network (each Sani-Track wall-unit contains a ZigBee radio). The Sani-Track software compares the actual number of hand-washing events against the expected number of such actions during a specific time, enabling users to educate personnel on a general level.

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations