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RFID for WHAT? 101 Innovative Ways to Use Radio Frequency Identification—Part 11: Patient Care

Easing pain and saving lives.
By John Edwards
Aug 01, 2011Presented below is part 11 of an 11-part series examining the use of radio frequency identification for unexpected applications. In this chapter, we consider RFID's use in patient care.

92. Reducing Cancer Patients' Anxiety
The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, in Burbank, Calif., uses an RFID patient-tracking system to let patients manage their treatment experience. Each patient is issued an identification badge. As soon as patients enter the building, a concierge greets them by name and directs them to their appointments. When patients first visit some of the treatment rooms, a staff member helps them customize the environment to their liking. They can choose the room temperature, and one of six music selections, from rock to easy listening. Patients can also choose the room lighting—red, blue or orange—and opt to have beach, mountain or desert scenes displayed on the walls. (See RFID Helps Heal Body, Mind and Spirit.)

93. Cardiac Arrest? RFID Stat!
The Instituto do Câncer do Estado de São Paulo, in São Paulo, Brazil, is employing a Wi-Fi-based real-time location system to improve responsiveness when a patient goes into cardiac arrest. Staff members wear RFID badges. If someone witnesses a patient undergoing cardiac arrest, he or she can press one of two buttons on the tag—one for code blue, or another for code yellow. The RTLS alerts staff members and tracks response times, providing the clinic with information it can use to enhance its response processes. (See São Paulo Cancer Hospital Uses RFID to Respond to Heart Attacks.)

94. Caring for the Elderly
Rockhill Mennonite Community, an assisted-living and nursing facility in Pennsylvania, adopted a real-time location system to let management know when residents require assistance and to monitor the care they receive. Other long-term facilities provide memory-impaired residents with RFID tags or bracelets, so staff members can receive alerts when residents stray toward off-limits areas. (See Retirement Community Gains Insight From RTLS, Las Vegas-Area Nursing Facility Adopts RFID for Memory-Impaired Residents and Wi-Fi Tags Reduce Risk of Falling at Elder-Care Facility.)

95. No More Waiting
The waiting rooms at Apollo Hospitals Chennai, in India, and Virginia Mason Medical Center, in Washington State, are empty, though they each see hundreds of patients daily. That's because both health-care facilities have adopted a real-time location system that tracks patients and staff members. Each system ensures that both patients and health-care workers are in the right examining and treatment rooms at the correct time. (See Apollo Hospital Chennai Uses RFID to Speed Up Check-Ups and At Virginia Mason Clinic, RFID Eliminates the Need to Wait.)

96. Kicking the Smoking Habit
The Scottish government is encouraging the use of National Entitlement Cards—contactless cards designed to reduce the handling of cash and promote public transit and other services. As part of that program, pregnant women can take a test at a pharmacy to determine whether they have been smoking. If they're smoke-free, the pharmacy credits their cards with money that can be used to purchase food. (See RFID Helps Promote Healthy Pregnancies.)
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