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RF Technologies, OSI Integrate RFID-Generated Alerts With Telephony

A single IP handset can receive alerts emitted by RFID devices, as well as fire and smoke detectors, and can also be used to receive and place phone calls.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 06, 2007Health-care work can often be stressful. The addition of physical burdens can make the job even tougher. To wit: many health-care workers must carry a multitude of communication devices during their daily rounds, in order to remain accessible and mobile.

"[Health-care workers] are starting to look like cops, with all the stuff hanging from their belts," says Jim Frost, vice president of sales for RF Technologies, a provider of RFID-enabled communication systems for the health-care industry. "They might carry a wireless [landline] phone, a cell phone and multiple pagers."

For instance, if a nursing home patient, or a resident at a senior-care facility, presses an RFID-enabled call button for help, an alert appears on a pager. To respond, an employee must use a phone—which the worker might not being carrying—to call an administrator. In some facilities, staff members also carry separate pagers for receiving alerts generated by fire or smoke detectors.

To streamline the various communications systems used by health-care facilities, RF Technologies has teamed with Office Solutions Inc. (OSI), an integrator of telecommunications platforms (made by AT&T, Avaya and Cisco) for the health-care industry. The partners have worked to develop a single platform combining RF Technology's patient-safety tools with standard Internet protocol (IP) telecommunication systems, so that health-care workers can access a single platform—and device—for all communication needs and alerts.

Brookdale Senior Living, an organization that operates 547 senior residence and care properties across the United States, has already implemented the combined platform at nearly 80 of its facilities, according to RF Technologies. Senior Housing Consultants, which constructs and manages residences and nursing facilities for seniors across Iowa, is beginning to install the RF Technologies/OSI platform across more than 15 facilities. Josh Palma, project manager with Senior Housing Consultants, says he has received very positive feedback from health-care workers who have begun using the system.

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