Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

The Hunt for Killer Germs

A Canadian startup is developing a real-time locating system to track and contain hospital infections.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 01, 2009—Hospital-acquired infections kill thousands of people in the United States and add billions of dollars to health-care costs each year. "In Canada, these antibiotic-resistant hospital infections kill more people than car accidents, AIDS and breast cancer combined," says Niall Wallace, CEO of Infonaut, a Toronto startup that's developing a real-time locating system (RTLS) to help hospitals map, manage and contain the spread of infectious diseases.

The RTLS is designed to let hospitals identify the assets and people likely to have come in contact with a person diagnosed with a hospital-acquired infection. Tags that use either RFID or ultrasound technology are affixed to assets or worn by patients and hospital staff. A geographic information system (GIS) captures the tag reads, analyzes the data and displays the information, showing relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps. If a patient contracts an infection, the GIS can build a comprehensive picture of how and where that infection is likely to spread.

Typically, when a patient is diagnosed with a hospital-acquired infection, the hospital conducts a systematic and costly cleaning of the entire facility. The tiny microscopic spores that spread the infection can live for days and stick to everything from wheelchairs to IV pumps, Wallace says. With Infonaut's system, the hospital can initiate a more timely response. "If you knew there were two wings in the hospital that were identified as the hot spots, you would spend a more focused time cleaning those areas," Wallace says. "This system gives you much more targeted information to try to get ahead of the bubble. Without this information, you're making decisions in a vacuum."

In February, Infonaut and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, a Canadian nonprofit that promotes and develops information technology to foster economic growth for local businesses and communities, will begin a three-month pilot at the Sault Area Hospital. The pilot will track assets, such as wheelchairs and IV pumps, with battery-powered tags from Sonitor Technologies, a maker of an ultrasound-based indoor positioning system. Wallace says the Infonaut system will work with RFID tags as well, and he expects the company to partner with RFID vendors in the near future. "RFID enables a real-time system that captures all the tracking data," he says. "The first stage of our work is with Sonitor, but we are agnostic."
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 385 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations