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Italian Hospital Uses RFID to Document Patient Location, Treatment

Thanks to active RFID tags, families and staff members at Treviglio-Caravaggio can determine patients' exact locations. Employees can also use the system to identify delays and document services received.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 23, 2008Ospedale Treviglio-Caravaggio, located in Treviglio, Italy, has deployed an RFID system to track its patients as they are admitted to the hospital's emergency wing and then move through the facility, receiving medical services.

Typically, when new patients arrive at the emergency department and are admitted, the hospital follows a series of procedures for diagnosis or therapy. Tracking admitted patients as they pass from one area to another can be difficult because the process is dynamic. For example, if the wait time for X-rays is too long, patients might first go for a blood test, a procedure that normally takes place after an X-ray. If that happens, the hospital has no immediate way of knowing the location, of those patients, or the procedures they have undergone.

With an RFID system provided by Softwork, hospital personnel can immediately locate a patient. Emergency patient management has become easier, says Agata Olivieri, Treviglio-Caravaggio's emergency director, and patient safety is better secured because workers can easily locate them.

"The aim of this RFID deployment is to know always, and in real time, the location of the patient in the emergency area," says Softwork's marketing and communication manager, Paola Visentin.

When new patients are admitted to the hospital, they receive an Identec Solutions active 915 MHz RFID tag to wear around the neck. Each tag contains a unique RFID number linked in the hospital's database with that patient's name and pertinent health information.

As patients move from one part of the hospital to another—such as from an examining room into the radiology department—they pass through one of eight RFID reader portals deployed throughout the building. The portal's interrogator captures the tag's ID number. If personnel want to know a patient's location, they can access it via computer in real time. Using its Dove software suite, Italian software company Siced developed the software required to integrate the RFID components with the hospital's existing Compuware Uniface platform.

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