Can I Use RFID to Monitor a Patient’s Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and So Forth?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan I Use RFID to Monitor a Patient’s Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and So Forth?
RFID Journal Staff asked 4 years ago

If so, what specific frequency range should I use?

—Ratnadipa

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Ratnadipa,

An RFID system, by itself, cannot detect a person’s heart rate or blood pressure. You would need sensors to do that. A sensor could be integrated with an active RFID tag so that a change in heart rate or blood pressure would be communicated to an RFID transponder, which would then forward that information to a back-end system, along with the person’s location.

In 2007, a surveillance systems company called Third Eye released a Security Alert Tracking System (SATS) that allowed casinos, banks or convenience stores to be alerted in the event that an employee’s heart began racing. The goal was to enable management to react quickly if a worker was under stress. The sensors, designed and manufactured by a company called SPO Medical, were integrated into a wristband containing a 915 MHz active RFID chip, an antenna and a battery. The chip included a unique ID number that could be associated with a specific employee in a database (see New RFID System Takes Security to Heart). However, neither Third Eye nor SPO Medical appear to be in business at this point.

More recently, PhysIQ has developed a system for analyzing data to track human physiology. And Sotera Wireless makes an FDA-approved device, known as ViSi Mobile, for monitoring vital signs and transmitting them wirelessly via a Wi-Fi connection (see Upcoming Trial to Combine Ebola Care With Wireless Vitals Monitoring). So you could use active 915 MHz or 2.45 GHz.

You could also utilize passive RFID operating in the 915 MHz range. In 2011, a New Jersey wireless systems company called RFID Sensor Systems introduced a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID tag that included various sensors. The firm developed the technology to provide end users with small, inexpensive RFID sensor tags that would not require battery replacement. One of the two tags was designed for cardiopulmonary monitoring by health-care organizations. The company does not appear to be promoting this tag on its website.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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