Can RFID Track the Movements of Patients at a Hospital?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Track the Movements of Patients at a Hospital?
RFID Journal Staff asked 8 years ago

For example, could the technology be used to protect infants?

—Name withheld


Yes, certainly. One of the earliest uses of active RFID was for protecting infants, in fact. There were a few high-profile incidents in the United States of infants being kidnapped from maternity wards. To prevent that from happening, some hospitals deployed an active RFID system that could track an infant’s location and sound an alarm if they approached an exit (see Tamper-Resistant RFID Infant-Tracking System Improves Security, Stanley Healthcare Releases Wi-Fi Version of Hugs Infant Protection System and RFID Delivers Newborn Security). Today, active RFID technology is mostly used in hospitals to track medical equipment, but some facilities monitor patients for the purpose of ensuring their safety and making their stay more comfortable.

A case study related to this topic will be presented at our RFID in Health Care conference and exhibition, which will take place on Nov. 20, 2015, in Chicago, Ill. Ohio’s Light of Hearts Villa has deployed a real-time location system (RTLS) to better identify residents in need of services (see RFID Improves Safety at Assisted-Living Facility). The assisted-living facility provides a residential living environment for more than 75 senior citizens, and one of its main priorities is ensuring the ongoing safety of its elderly residents.

Each resident wears a wireless tag on a lanyard, enabling him or her to call for help from anywhere within the facility. Employees can view system data from computers at nursing stations, and receive alerts via text messages on their mobile devices. All system activity is captured in a database, and a variety of reports can be generated to measure performance, as well as analyze residents’ changing needs. During the event, Terry J. Broussard, the VP of support services at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, will also explain how his hospital is tracking personnel, as well as the benefits that brings (see Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center Expands RTLS Usage Beyond Asset Management and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Expands RTLS Usage).

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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