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ROI on Temperature-Monitoring Solution Leads to RFID Asset Tracking

Lifespan automated the humidity and temperature monitoring of pharmaceuticals and blood across its five hospitals, then began tracking high-value mobile assets.
By Bob Violino
Dec 14, 2014

Lifespan, a group of five hospitals in Providence, Rhode Island, wanted to automate the time-consuming, paper-based process of recording temperature and humidity levels of refrigerators, freezers and rooms in which pharmaceuticals and blood were stored. Regulatory compliance organizations, such as The Joint Commission and American Association of Blood Banks, require that these readings be conducted on a daily basis. In addition, the reports must be saved for several years, and remain retrievable for audit purposes.

In July 2010, Lifespan set out to find a technology solution to the problem. The organization wanted to leverage its large investment in 802.11 wireless networking rather than invest in a new proprietary solution. "The clinical space within our hospitals has been outfitted with over 1,200 wireless access points, which provide wireless service for laptops, tablets, medical devices and public Internet service for patients and their families," says Elaine Palm, Lifespan's director of information systems infrastructure.

A tag is affixed to a medical device to measure temperature levels.
Adding RFID to the existing wireless infrastructure would be a cost-effective, easily supportable and easily implemented solution, Palm says. "Therefore, we eliminated other types of solutions from consideration," she explains. "Those solutions would have required additional cabling, controllers and software to purchase and maintain."

Lifespan's IS infrastructure engineering team conducted a vendor evaluation. Following vendor reviews, industry evaluations, customer references and cost analysis, the organization performed proof-of-concept pilots with two vendors that met the basic criteria.

Lifespan's Elaine Palm
Lifespan determined that an environmental monitoring system from AeroScout, which is now part of Stanley Healthcare, met its needs. According to Palm, it was the best solution in terms of accuracy, application design, use of the standard Structured Query Language (SQL) database, scalability and user interface.

AeroScout's Wi-Fi-based temperature- and humidity-monitoring solution was deployed at one hospital in July 2011, and three more facilities were RFID-enabled in September. The solution was deployed at the fifth hospital in 2012.

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