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RFID Tracks One Million Health-Care Assets in United Arab Emirates

OgTech's UHF RFID solution enables the nation's Ministry of Health to manage the locations of its equipment, IT assets and mechanical gear throughout 147 facilities.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 03, 2019

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Health (MOH) is deploying one million RFID tags across 147 facilities, in one of the Middle East's largest RFID deployments to date. The system, provided by OgTech Technology Solutions, involves managing the locations of health-care, IT and mechanical assets throughout the ministry's hospitals, health centers, clinics and administrative buildings across the UAE.

With the technology in place, hospitals and clinics have reported that they are conducting faster and more frequent audits of their assets, while nurses and health-care providers can locate the tools they need for patient care, and maintenance personnel can quickly identify any equipment that requires maintenance, cleaning or service. The ministry is applying a phased approach to the deployment, and has thus far taken the system live at 10 of its largest facilities, according to Khaled Mohamed Ezz El Din, OGTech's regional manager. The goal, he says, is to roll out the technology to all 147 locations by the first quarter of 2020.

OgTech, an affiliate of the Osman Group, is a systems integrator specializing in RFID and security-based solutions. The company maintains four offices throughout the Middle East and the United States, with its headquarters in Egypt. The firm first approached the UAE MOH in 2017 to propose a UHF-based asset-tracking solution, Ezz El Din recalls, which led to the ministry's widescale deployment.

Each of the MOH's facilities is responsible for hundreds or thousands of assets, including wheelchairs, pumps and diagnostic equipment, some of which need to be located quickly for use on patients. In some cases, equipment is loaned between different facilities as well. To ensure that the necessary equipment was at each site, staff members conducted audits by scanning the barcodes of items within each area or room. This was a time-consuming process that didn't happen as frequently as the ministry would have liked, however.

OgTech worked with the ministry to develop ways in which to optimize its operation. "We proposed a solution design," says Ezz El Din, and the ministry initiated a subsequent tender, for which 10 companies competed. The OgTech solution was ultimately chosen. The system consists of passive handheld UHF RFID readers, which are used at each clinic or hospital. Because there are many kinds of assets, including different form factors and materials, the firm opted to provide a variety of RFID tag types—primarily from Smartrac Group—as well as Zebra printers to print and encode the labels prior to application. Metalcraft tags were selected for on-metal tagging.

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