Securely advancing healthcare services

November 2008 Asset Management, EAS, RFID, Healthcare (Industry)

RFID tags are playing a greater role in healthcare, guaranteeing information security and patient safety.

Balancing patient confidentiality with patient care is no easy task. Patients demand security of their files, while doctors require easy access to information in order to provide the best medical advice. The high cost of good medical attention also means that patients expect access to advanced healthcare equipment.

Schreiner Logidata, supported locally by technology provider Brand New Technologies, is working actively within the healthcare industry to bring surety to patient data and patient identification.

Using RFID (radio frequency identification) Schreiner Logidata is able to guarantee patient identification and easy access to medical files. According to Dave Crawshay-Hall, CTO for Brand New, many international hospitals have already expressed an interest in Schreiner’s Safety-Seal RFID wristbands.

“Although still in the testing phase, these wristbands are likely to be a viable secure solution to patient identification. The Schreiner RFID Safety-Seal is attached to a wristband which is worn by the patient during hospitalisation. The identification number can be read on demand using a handheld reader or PDA. The associated ID codes allow the respective data stored in the patient’s file to be called up via WLAN. The file is password protected to ensure that only authorised personnel are able to access the data.”

The wristband is available in two versions. The first version can be opened and closed again, and thus be used several times. The second version can only be used once as the wristband is destroyed when opening the closure.

Another area where Schreiner Logidata’s solutions have merit in the healthcare industry is the individual marking and tracking of documents and patient files. “Despite electronic data processing, retention of hard copy files remains an indispensable requirement for many businesses and medical practices,” explains Crawshay-Hall. “This inevitably results in time and cost-consuming searches for patient files. To combat this, Schreiner has developed an RFID-based solution for document and file tracking.”

Each file or document is provided with an RFID label which bears a unique identification number. Using reading devices, which can be permanently installed on office doors, the current location of the file is documented and saved on a server. Via their PCs all authorised personnel can access this server to locate a particular file.

Contributing further to a trusted healthcare industry is Schreiner Logidata’s e-temp-label which uses RFID to register temperature deviations electronically above and below a freely definable temperature range. “This is particularly relevant in the pharmaceutical industry where temperature sensitive medication has to be stored and transported to hospitals and patients. The e-temp-label readings can highlight if any tagged medication has been compromised due to exposure to the incorrect temperature,” continues Crawshay-Hall.

Even moving hospital beds around can be simplified and secured using RFID. Schreiner Logidata has developed a new elevator management system for a German hospital. All the beds are fitted with a transponder and on each floor an antenna is fastened to the outside of the elevator. Whenever a transponder attached to a bed enters the range of an antenna, an authorisation check is triggered. If approved, an elevator car is immediately sent to the relevant floor for priority transportation of the waiting bed. Once this priority mission has been completed, the elevator returns to regular operating mode.

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