RFID tracks people

October 2010 Asset Management, EAS, RFID

Local hospital group uses RFID to track patients.

An established leader in the private hospital industry in South Africa and Namibia, a well-known hospital group was seeking a way of accurately monitoring the time spent by patients in its operating theatres. It required a system that could run with limited human intervention, was able to interface directly with the hospital’s computer network and be able to automate the billing process. The objective of implementing the system was to improve the utilisation of resources, raise hospital efficiency, provide an audit trail of operating theatre usage and thus increase revenue.

Bloodhound Technologies is a South-African based technology company specialising in the development of real-time tracking solutions to optimise and streamline business processes. Since inception the company has been involved in projects across a diverse range of industries including; healthcare, logistics, supply chain, finance, security and mining.

Working within stringent installation criteria for its operating theatres, Bloodhound Technologies ran a pilot scheme in six hospitals delivering a highly functional system that included a recycling facility for the RFID tags. By attaching a Bloodhound Active RFID tag to the patient’s bed, installing a Bloodhound RFID reader in each theatre and a data buffer per theatre complex, a precise record of the time spent by each patient in theatre could be recorded.

The Active RFID tag data is interpreted by the Bloodhound RMS server which in turn is interfaced to the hospital’s own information system. Attaching the tag to the bed as opposed to the patient eliminated the risk of it being obscured by the patient’s body. Validating time spent in the operating theatre has significantly improved payment terms with insurance companies. Initial figures show that this benefit, along with the greater operational efficiency within the pilot hospitals, provides an ROI in less than 12 months.

The company is currently in a planning phase to undertake a full and more advanced roll-out to the majority of the hospital theatre complexes within the group.

Bloodhound Technologies has also been commissioned to explore the possibilities of using RFID tags to track both key items of equipment and members of staff to improve hospital efficiency.


* A precise record of the time spent by each patient in theatre is created.

* Real-time accurate patient visibility.

* Accurate and auditable billing.

* Reduced payment times from insurance companies.

* Estimated at less than 12 months.


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