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Saint Francis Medical Center Employs RFID to Track Staff Training

At the hospital's request, attendance-software provider DotEnablers developed a mobile version of its event-tracking software, used in conjunction with RF IDeas dongle readers.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 14, 2014

Each month, Saint Francis Medical Center, located in Cape Girardeau, Mo., holds 100 training sessions for its employees. Every one of the facility's 2,500 staff members attends some kind of training, which is provided in the hospital campus' classrooms on a regular basis. The sessions cover a range of topics, including medical updates, organizational changes, software and system management, maintenance procedures and, most recently, Ebola safety procedures. Consequently, the medical center has a large volume of attendance records that it must collect and manage.

In the past, the hospital tracked session attendance manually, via paper and pen. This required that personnel write their own ID numbers onto a piece of paper and initial the page, in order to prove they attended. Others then had to input the IDs into the hospital's Learning Management software for each session. This could create errors if workers forgot to write on the paper, or if the ID numbers were transposed or illegible.

A Saint Francis Medical Center employee taps her ID badge to an RF IDeas dongle reader, which is plugged into an Android-based tablet running the i-Attend Mobile app.
A year ago, the hospital adopted DotEnablers' i-Attend Web event attendance-tracking solution, along with desktop readers provided by RF IDeas. Every hospital employee has a low-frequency (LF) 125 kHz RFID-enabled proximity badge encoded with a unique ID number assigned to that particular staff member in the company's software. The RFID tags built into badges are provided by HID Global, and the hospital had used the badges for the purpose of access control prior to the i-Attend solution's installation. The RFID-enabled i-Attend Web solution worked fine, says Eric Desa, Saint Francis Medical Center's e-learning specialist, but it required that the hospital provide the readers with either an Ethernet or wireless connection to the Internet. That was not always convenient, he says, since sessions are spread throughout various parts of the campus, and are sometimes organized very quickly—too quickly for a reader to be set up and connected to Saint Francis' Internet network.

Saint Francis Medical Center's Eric Desa
Consequently, Desa says, several months after adopting the i-Attend Web solution, he began working with DotEnablers and RF IDeas to develop a mobile solution. The result, according to Marlon Bermas, DotEnablers' founder, is i-Attend Mobile, an Android-based app loaded onto a tablet or smartphone fitted with an RF IDeas dongle reader. The solution is now being offered to other customers for tracking the attendance of company personnel.

Saint Francis Medical Center tested the mobile solution earlier this year, and is now using it on a daily basis with several tablets that have readers plugged into their USB ports.

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