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2010 RFID Journal Award: RFID Helps Heal Body, Mind and Spirit

A patient-tracking system at the Disney Family Cancer Center improves services and reduces anxiety for those undergoing treatment.
By Jill Gambon
Jun 01, 2010On Apr. 19, 2010, RFID Journal presented the fourth annual RFID Journal Awards for outstanding achievement in radio frequency identification technology to four companies at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, our eighth annual conference and exhibition. This year's winner for Most Innovative Use of RFID was the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center.


Cancer patients have to contend not only with a potentially life-threatening disease, but often with loss of control of their physical appearance, schedules and finances as well. That's why one of the main objectives for the $55 million Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, which opened in February at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, in Burbank, Calif., was to reduce patient anxiety. Staff members wanted to create a facility that would provide excellent medical care and restore a measure of control to patients, by allowing them to manage their treatment experience.

In 2005, the medical center, part of a 27-hospital chain of Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit health system based in Renton, Wash., established a steering committee from diverse departments—including information technology, biomedical engineering, facilities management and oncology—to define a vision for the 55,000-square-foot cancer center. The committee identified several additional objectives: create a spa-like setting incorporating elements of nature; improve workflow among clinicians, patients and administrators; and maximize return on investment by building a technology infrastructure that could evolve and scale up over time, according to Ray Lowe, IS director for the medical center and a steering committee member.

The overall goal was to make each visit as easy as possible for patients. "We know if patients are more relaxed, they'll have better clinical outcomes," says Tamara Sutton, the medical center's service area director for oncology, and a steering committee member.

The gleaming state-of-the-art outpatient facility, on the hospital's Burbank campus, takes a holistic approach to cancer treatment, to heal the body, mind and spirit of patients from across the San Fernando Valley. It offers both Eastern and Western therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation, acupuncture, nutrition counseling, massage and yoga. The building features a rooftop healing garden, waterfall, reflecting pool, library and personal-appearance boutique where patients can purchase wigs, prosthetics and other items they may need to cope with the side effects of treatment.

Key to improving the overall patient experience is a radio frequency identification patient-tracking system designed to personalize each visit. It helps staffers prepare for each patient, and lets the patient control the lighting, temperature, music and scenery in the treatment rooms.
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