Could an active RFID-based real-time location system be used to capture the vital signs of patients?
To my knowledge, there are no real-time location system (RTLS) providers that offer a tag worn by a patient in order to capture and transmit his or her vital signs.
In 2006, we wrote about Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital testing a means of linking a patient’s location and vital signs via an RTLS solution. The hospital used an ultrasound RTLS from Sonitor Technologies, and placed tags inside fanny packs containing a device that monitors heart activity (through three leads attached to the chest) and blood-oxygen saturation level (via a lead attached to the fingertip). The cardiovascular data was transmitted to a Hewlett Packard personal digital assistant (PDA), also inside the fanny pack, that runs a customized Linux-based program (written by the hospital staff) and transmits the collected data, along with the patient’s ID number, to the facility’s Wi-Fi network. If a patient were to experience a sudden spike in his or her heart rate, the staff, carrying their own PDAs, would receive an alert showing that person’s vital signs and location, determined via the RTLS technology (see Testing Ultrasound to Track, Monitor Patients).
We have also published articles about two experimental systems that offer the ability to monitor vital signs (see Sensing Your Vital Signs and Washington University Researchers Seek to Bring Mobility to ICU Patients).
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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