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Malaysia's Prince Court Medical Center Adopts RFID

The hospital is tracking infants and their mothers, as well as assets, utilizing passive and active RFID tags, with the goal of reducing the risk of infant abduction and asset theft.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 16, 2011The Prince Court Medical Center (PCMC), located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is employing active RFID tags with a built-in infrared (IR) transmitter to protect infants within its facility, as well as a combination of passive and active tags to track equipment and other medical assets.

PCMC is a 300-bed, six-floor multi-specialty-care hospital that draws patients from throughout Asia. In 2008, the medical center began seeking a technology that would prevent any risk of infant abduction, as well as reduce asset theft—before either type of crime could become a problem. "What was needed was a preemptive safety measure," says Shrinita Yogeswaran, PCMC's IT application manager, "that would effectively serve as a secondary deterrent and a back-up to the hospital's existing security measures [for tracking patients and assets]." Those existing security measures required scanning bar codes, she says, or tracking individuals and assets by means of ID numbers printed on labels.

The infant's tag has a tamper-proof strap, as does the mother's tag.

For infant tracking, the hospital sought a solution that employed RFID bracelets worn by infants and their mothers and would provide real-time data regarding babies' locations, and that would issue an alert if a child were ever handed to the incorrect mother. In addition, the facility wanted the tags to have a security feature that could ensure they are never removed by an unauthorized individual.

Shirnita Yogeswaran
What's more, the hospital wanted the ability to better track the locations of its high-value mobile assets, such as infusion pumps, telemetry monitors, feeding pumps, beds and wheelchairs. Although that was deemed a secondary measure to the asset-tracking processes it already has in place, Yogeswaran notes, the RFID system proved to provide greater security than the bar-coding solution alone. "With a substantial number of state-of-the-art hardware and medical equipment, the general consensus was that [Prince Court's] existing bar-code-labeling processes would no longer suffice," she states. The medical center's staff has been scanning bar-coded labels on the equipment as it is received from suppliers, or during maintenance, but that process provides no further information about the items' movements throughout the hospital. Not only did the facility require a better method for knowing if assets were being stolen, it also wanted to ensure that employees were able to locate the equipment they needed.

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