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Belgian Hospitals Use RFID to Track Temperatures, Assets and Patients

St. Trudo and Jan Yperman are utilizing AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based active RFID system not only to monitor patient or asset locations, but also to track the temperature of equipment or supplies, or the status of wheelchairs and other items.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 03, 2008Two Belgian hospitals—St. Trudo and Jan Yperman—are employing radio frequency identification to monitor the locations of assets or patients, and to track the temperatures of items at their facilities. Both deployments utilize real-time location systems provided by AeroScout, and leverage the hospitals' Wi-Fi systems.

St. Trudo—which serves the central Belgian regions of Limburg and Vlamms-Brabant—employs a staff of 700, including 80 physicians, and treats 11,000 patients each year. Its greatest equipment-tracking concerns included expensive specialty air-filled anti-decubitus mattresses, used to help prevent pressure sores on patients requiring extended stays in bed. The 310-bed hospital maintains a limited number of such mattresses on site; if it requires more than that number, it leases them at a high cost. St. Trudo had been using a log book to track its mattresses, and if a mattress's status was not properly recorded, this sometimes caused the hospital to lease a bed unnecessarily.

Christophe Mouton
In addition, tracking such basic items as wheelchairs was time-consuming, requiring personnel to search for items whenever they had the opportunity.

A third problem challenged the hospital's data center. Equipment in that area was malfunctioning, leading the staff to suspect the room's temperature was too high, and damaging the facility's computer servers. The hospital, therefore, needed a means to accurately monitor the temperature in that data center.

To address these issues, the hospital began utilizing AeroScout's MobileView software and Wi-Fi-based active RFID tags in early November, says Daniël Loos, St. Trudo Hospital's manager of information and communication technology.

St. Trudo's system, according to Steffan Haithcox, AeroScout's senior director of marketing, includes a Cisco Systems Unified Wireless Network for its Wi-Fi backbone, with AeroScout Wi-Fi-based active RFID 2.4 GHz tags placed on items to be tracked throughout the facility. Systems integrator NextiraOne installed 250 Wi-Fi access points throughout the building. The Cisco network can also be employed for other wireless services, such as electronic medical records and telephone service.

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