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Middle Tennessee Medical Center to Install TotGuard

The system's RFID tags prompt an alert if an infant is brought to a stairway, elevator or exit, and contain light and temperature sensors to protect them against tampering.
By Claire Swedberg
The hospital may also utilize a TotGuard tag housed within a disposable plastic pod that clips directly onto the clamp attached to the stump of an infant's umbilical cord. With a newborn baby, the tag is more difficult to remove than a standard TotGuard tag, and is also resistant to water, so the child could be bathed without the tag being removed. The umbilical model can detect if someone attempted to remove the tag; to do so, that person would have to open or cut the pod, at which time the tag's light sensor would detect light and trigger an alarm.

Sixty GuardRFID readers, connected to the server via Ethernet cable, will be installed throughout the hospital in such a way that they will provide real-time coverage of the entire obstetrics floor, as well as at doorways, elevators and stairs throughout the remainder of the building. What's more, GuardRFID will install a total of 18 exciters at the facility's entry and exit points. Each exciter transmits a 125 kHz signal encoded with a unique ID number. When a tag comes within range of an exciter, it will immediately transmit its own ID, rather than wait for the next scheduled beacon. It will also transmit the ID of the exciter, thereby establishing the tag's location. This transmission of the tag and exciter ID numbers causes the TotGuard software to trigger a pop-up alert on the hospital's computers.

Tags will be read by at least three readers at any given time they are in the obstetrical department, or near exits. In that way, the system can pinpoint an infant's location within about 10 to 12 feet, by using a combination of triangulation and tag signal strength.

The system can then be designed to integrate with IP cameras, in order to provide users with a video image of what is happening at a doorway, for example, when an alert alarm is issued. The hospital, however, will not initially utilize the system in that manner. The system is designed to be flexible, according to Beth Bandi, GuardRFID's sales VP, and the middleware allows the integration of the data from the RFID reads with other information, such as asset management, or other hospital functions, such as admitting or discharge. "Initially," she states, "they want to keep it simple." In fact, she adds, the software is designed to be intuitive for first-time users, so that staff members unfamiliar with the system can quickly and easily adjust to it.

In addition to being used to provide security to newborns, the tag can also be attached to older pediatric patients. Middle Tennessee Medical Center will employ the wristband tags for such patients, though the pediatric department will have readers installed only at the exit points, thus affording children greater freedom to move around the facility.

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