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RFID Can Simplify Maintenance of Patient-Monitoring Devices

If medical equipment manufacturers integrate dual-interface RFID chips into the devices they make, hospitals could use the technology to communicate with those devices, access maintenance records and alerts, and upgrade software.
By Thomas Lavallee
Body-worn monitors are not new, but the types of measurements and amounts of data involved are increasing rapidly with each successive generation. This is an application in which a dual-interface RFID solution could greatly enhance the monitors' utility and longevity, by providing a gateway to the inner workings without a cumbersome connector.

Within the body-worn categories, there are several subcategories:

• Mobile/wearable personal monitoring (MPM): Devices that monitor in real time, as well as store and forward data or send alerts regarding biometric activity for chronic diseases.

• Mobile aggregators: Smartphone-like devices with or without add-on sensors having the ability to report patient status using wireless technology.

• Wearable health gadgets: Devices that employ sensors worn on the wrist, arm or chest, or embedded in fabric in shoes or shirts, to measure heart rate, respiration, pace and more, for fitness, wellness and preventive care.

• Remote patient management (RPM): Specialized monitoring devices with sensors specific to a patient's particular needs. Such systems can be custom-fitted with sensors to report everything from heart rate to whether a patient is standing or lying down.

For all types of patient monitors, whether bedside, portable or body-worn, the challenges remain: How do you keep equipment up to date with current software, calibration and maintenance records? And how do you know when a fault has occurred?

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