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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

The scope of the solution has grown beyond managing health-care equipment—such as pumps, wheelchairs and patient beds—to also include office furniture, IT equipment, and mechanical and electric components used for the operation of each facility. In that way, staff members could identify fixed items like generators and surveillance cameras for maintenance purposes. Some equipment, in fact, is located outdoors, including air-conditioning units, in temperatures that can peak above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, Ezz El Din says, the most rugged tags are used for those applications.

For all applications, OgTech wanted the system to require little effort by hospital or clinic personnel outside of their existing tasks. For that reason, the software that captures and manages read data is integrated with each facility's existing management software. Thus, every tag read links to the asset data stored in that software. "We were very keen to make the system quite convenient and friendly to all the business users," Ezz El Din states. The system was integrated with MOH's Microsoft enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. "We worked closely with their ERP team to integrate our devices directly with their ERP, to avoid any double work between interfaces."

Software integration was completed at the end of 2018, then tagging began to take place across the ministry's properties this year. OgTech is providing training on how to use the technology at each facility. Every new deployment consists of confirming and updating the physical inventory for each property, then migrating the facility's asset register to the RFID system. Next, workers begin tagging all assets and carry out inventory counts using a handheld.

"We hold a workshop for their business users to get familiar with the technology," Ezz El Din explains, as well as training them to apply the RFID tags. This includes selecting the right tag for each asset and the proper location on that item where the tag should be applied. In most cases, employees apply tags in a discreet or invisible location so that they are unlikely to be damaged or removed, but they can still provide a read range of about 5 meters (16.4 feet) when interrogated.

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