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RFID News Roundup

SATO Healthcare partners with Mie University Hospital to develop patient wristbands, establishes group company in Taiwan ••• Datalogic offers new readers, temperature logger ••• MSS Software intros ultra-rugged mobile readers ••• TagMaster unveils mini UHF reader for access control ••• Imec debuts plastic NFC tag.
By Rich Handley
Feb 09, 2017

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: SATO Healthcare, Mie University Hospital; Datalogic; MSS Software; TagMaster; and Imec.

SATO Healthcare Partners With Mie University Hospital to Develop Patient Wristbands, Establishes Group Company in Taiwan

SATO , a provider of automatic-identification solutions, has announced that it will jointly conduct the first clinical study of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags in Japan, in partnership with Mie University Hospital. The study will aim to decrease the burden on patients and the workload of hospital personnel through the implementation of UHF RFID wristbands.

The first step of the joint research, the companies report, will be to determine whether UHF RFID readers have any effect on pacemakers and other implantable medical devices. The clinical study, launched in December 2016, is slated to be completed in December 2018, and will look at all patients, age 18 or older, who are admitted to the hospital. The existing bar-code system that Mie University Hospital has utilized for the administration of medication and collection of blood samples employs three-point verification to cross-check data. The hospital sought to improve upon such drawbacks as disturbing sleeping patients at night and occasional read errors caused by smudges or deformations of wristband bar codes.

Through the implementation of UHF RFID tags from SATO Healthcare, the partners explain, data can be read from a distance, making physical contact with a reader unnecessary. During tests conducted prior to the study's launch, data could often be read even with blankets or other obstructions coming between the chip and the reader.

UHF RFID tags are lower in cost than high-frequency (HF) tags and have a greater and more flexible read range. The low-power readers used during the clinical study had no effect on pacemakers or defibrillators regardless of distance, the companies indicate, citing a report by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

"UHF tags are here," said Yoshinori Azumi, the deputy chief of Mie University Hospital's Department of Medical Informatics, in a prepared statement. "They provide data verification at low cost and hold great promise for the future by easing the burden of nurses and other staff that cross-check patient data."

"Non-RFID wristbands can ensure patient safety, but UHF wristbands do more—they improve patient comfort," said Hiroyuki Konuma, SATO Healthcare's president, in the prepared statement. "The ability to read tags from a distance means that caregivers now do not have to unnecessarily move patients to read their wristbands when sleeping. This system is a breakthrough that can ensure the highest levels of accuracy and comfort."

In addition, SATO has announced that SATO Holdings has established a 100 percent owned sales subsidiary called SATO Taiwan Co., Ltd. SATO first established its presence in Taiwan in 2012 with the acquisition of Argox, a manufacturer of compact printers for emerging and industrial markets. According to SATO, its SATO Taiwan subsidiary was established to meet the potential new demand in Taiwan for auto-ID solutions to streamline operations, in order to keep up with an accelerating trend of organizations implementing IT systems and a rapidly aging population.

The new company will coordinate closely with Argox and other SATO companies in the Asia-Pacific region to provide solutions integrating bar-code and RFID printers, readers, software, labels and other consumables. It will specifically focus on hospitals, health centers and other health-care institutions, to provide patient wristbands with the aim of capturing a 30 percent market share in patient-identification solutions by 2020.

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