Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Massachusetts General Uses RFID to Better Understand Its Clinics

A patient- and employee-tracking system, provided by Radianse, will enable the Boston hospital's clinics to gather complex information regarding patient flow and bottlenecks, with the goal of improving care.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 23, 2009After several years of testing RFID to track patients and staff members in its operating room (OR) department, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is now rolling out the same technology in a more challenging environment in which patient movement is not nearly as predictable—at medical clinics throughout the Boston area. Provided by Radianse, the system, known as Radianse Reveal, includes active 433 MHz RFID tags in the form of badges worn by workers and patients. Thus far, three clinics are employing Radianse Reveal, with the system slated to go live at another five locations by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

"Our incentive is to gain a better understanding of how our clinical systems behave," says James Stahl, a medical doctor and senior scientist with MGH's Institute for Technology Assessment. Unlike the tracking of assets or patients through an OR, tracking patients' movements through a clinic, Stahl says, "is a very complex system in terms of how resources are managed."

James Stahl, a senior scientist with MGH's Institute for Technology Assessment
While the goal is to provide patients with better access to care, understanding the movements of those patients and the care they receive is a daunting task that must be undertaken before MGH can determine how such a scenario can be improved. No patient is like any other, nor are his or her conditions and the treatments he or she requires. Although clinics can use anecdotal evidence to determine whether care is being provided as efficiently as possible, without a good means of measuring each visit, it's difficult to know what improvements to make. For example, it's not easy to track where delays had occurred, whether a physician spent the proper time with a patient, or how long a patient sat alone in an examining room.

The three MGH Boston clinics utilizing the system typically serve 20 to 40 patients per physician each day, with approximately three physicians at each location. Two of the clinics installing the system see patients on a scheduled basis, while one is a walk-in clinic.

In 2005, Massachusetts General set up a trial of Radianse RFID technology to track employees and patients in its OR unit. At the time, Stahl served as the research director of the trial project, known as the Operating Room of the Future (ORF). The project's goal was to determine whether RFID technology could track the movements of patients and staff members, and improve the operation room workflow based on that data. The technology is still in place in the OR, Stahl says, but has been deactivated for the time being.


Reader 2009-10-31 04:50:12 AM
RFID is going to change the healthcare industry This is revolutionary. I can't understand why the technology isn't used more commonly. To view a list of other technologies for RFID tags go here: http://www.rfid-tag.net/index.php/rfid-tag/rfid-tag-rfid-reader-and-rfid-chip-explained/
Abhishek Prasad 2018-08-11 01:35:24 PM
Employee tracking is best for implementing employee's access control, improving the organizational efficiency and transform business processes. For consultancy and implementing Employee tracking in your organization, visit www.hexahash.com

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations