BlueTag Patient-Tracking Comes to North America

By Beth Bacheldor

The active UHF RFID system, marketed by RFID ProSolutions, is designed to protect newborn babies, Alzheimer's patients and other individuals staying in health-care facilities.


RFID ProSolutions, a Canadian startup company specializing in RFID systems and integration, is now reselling an RFID-enabled system designed to protect newborn babies, Alzheimer’s patients and other individuals staying in health-care facilities. The BlueTag system, from Paris-based BlueLinea, leverages active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags embedded in bracelets and is currently used in 50 maternity wards in 10 countries around the world.

According to Jebb Nucci, RFID ProSolutions’ VP of RFID, the BlueTag system incorporates interrogators with integrated antennas, a computer and Blue Tag software, which contains a repository of each tag’s unique ID number and associated patient information. The RFID-enabled bracelet is hypoallergenic and waterproof, and can be worn on the wrist or ankle. Removing the device without authorization—if, for instance, someone were to cut the bracelet off—triggers an audible alarm. An alarm also sounds if anyone wearing the bracelet passes through a doorway equipped with the readers.

Four hospitals in France are presently using the BlueTag system, Nucci says, including the American Hospital of Paris and Montfermeil Hospital. “Montfermeil Hospital had some issues with babies being taken from their maternity ward over the past five years,” Nucci notes. “It is now considered one of the safest and most secure maternity wards in the greater Paris area. This new system has put their patients and staff more at ease, and has helped rebuild the hospital’s positive brand.”

Nucci says one key feature of the BlueTag system is that it helps prevent mothers and babies from prematurely leaving maternity wards. “Both [of the French] hospitals had experienced a high level of mothers and babies who would leave the ward before being properly discharged,” Nucci explains. “This was a major problem for nurses, because they would spend so much time looking for mothers and babies that were already gone. With the system in place, a mother and her baby must go see the nurses before leaving so they can deactivate and remove the baby’s tag to avoid sounding the alert on their way out.”

Since announcing the availability of the BlueTag system in the North American market in January, Nucci says, RFID ProSolutions has had several hospitals and retirement homes in the Montreal area express interest. “We are forecasting our first installation of the system in the spring of 2008,” he states.