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Belgian Hospitals Track Temperatures and Staff
Three Antwerp-area facilities have deployed AeroScout's Wi-Fi RFID tags and software to monitor the temperatures of refrigeration units, as well as the locations of 40 staff members.
Sep 03, 2010—Belgian health-care provider GasthuisZusters Antwerpen (GZA) is tracking the temperatures of its refrigerators and freezers that store pharmaceuticals, tissues, blood and food across its three hospitals in Antwerp, using a Wi-Fi based system provided by AeroScout. With approximately 250 tags currently in place, the deployment is the largest such system in Europe, says Wim Verduyn, AeroScout's director for the Benelux and France regions.
The hospitals—Sint-Augustinus, Sint-Jozef and Sint-Vincentius—each have a combination of coolers and refrigerators that store everything from blood and plasma to high-value pharmaceuticals and food for employees and patients. With the system installed by integrator PHI DATA, each unit's temperature is transmitted to GZA's back-end system using its existing Wi-Fi nodes.
Initially, GZA sought a solution to help track the temperatures of its cooling units. In the past, the hospital had accomplished temperature tracking via its building-management infrastructure. "This was a cabled system, and was quite cumbersome when it came down to registration and configuration," says Piet Van Wijnsberghe, GZA's preventive maintenance coordinator, "so we were looking for a new system."
Discussions about finding a technology solution began in September 2009, Verduyn recalls. "The vision was to use one system for the entire group—all three campuses at once," he says. To that end, the health-care company researched several possible solutions.
"The AeroScout system was the most interesting, because of the fact we already had a Wi-Fi network," Van Wijnsberghe says. "All the other systems had a network of their own, which made them considerably more expensive." AeroScout's MobileView software platform, which provides graphical maps, analytical tools and alerting, could also accommodate other future functions if the hospital chose to use them, including tracking staff members or patients.
For each refrigeration unit, an AeroScout T5 sensor tag transmits a 2.4 GHz signal encoded with a unique ID number, along with the latest temperature data, to the network of Aruba Networks Wi-Fi access points that all three facilities already had in place. The temperature and ID data, along with the date and time, are stored on the MobileView software installed on GZA's server. If the temperature exceeds the acceptable threshold for that particular unit, an alert can be sent either via e-mail, text message or cell phone call, thereby indicating the refrigerator in question, as well as its location and temperature.
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