Next generation smart hospital [video from 2009]

The video below is from 2009 shows some pretty cool uses for RFID (smart card).

Things I found interesting:

  • Geotagging your parking location [~0:30]. You ever forget where you park? Happens to me all the time when I travel.
  • Some of the software shown in the video [~2:00 min] was developed by Microsoft, including simple things like Windows and PowerPoint. Why don’t we hear the boys in Redmond weighing in more on healthcare software?
  • “Automatic payment machine” [~2:25] outside the exam room. Hey, pay on your way out. And when you’re done paying you can have your prescription [~2:40]. When you print the prescription it’s also electronically submitted to the pharmacy of your choice.
  • The amenities found in the VIP rooms [~3:30].
  • Use of RFID tags on medication (chemotherapy) labels [~4:23]
  • Web-based healthcare information [~5:25]
  • Anticoagulant results available to patients from the comfort of their own internet browser [~6:15], among other pertinent information.

You can read more about the “u-Severence” system in this 2010 article in Healthcare Informatics Research.

RFID-based solution for med trays

This is pretty cool use of RFID technology. The concept isn’t new to me, but it is the first time I’ve seen it in practice. The ability to track lot and expiration in real-time is a great advantage when compared to barcoding.

RFID Journal: “The pharmacy department of the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), a 750-bed hospital located in Baltimore, is employing an RFID-based solution to aid in the stocking of medication kits transported around the hospital for use with patients in the event of emergencies. Thanks to the technology, provided by RFID startup firm Kit Check, the hospital knows what was loaded onto each tray to form a crash-cart kit, as well as which medications were used and which are approaching their expiration dates. In addition, the facility has reduced the amount of time employees must spend loading each emergency medication tray, from approximately 20 minutes down to less than 5 minutes.”

Infographic for future of RFID

Found this little jewel over at the ThinkMagic website.

According to the commentary: “There is no doubt that over the next decade, RFID systems will become an integral part of the consumer and business experience. The convergence of wireless technologies will be augmented by RFID systems. The development of passive RFID as part of this platform will be driven by the potential to measure, report and monetize a growing number of transactions in the physical world.  Purpose-built systems will incorporate passive sensors and computational systems will emerge.  In certain applications, it is hard to imagine everyday physical objects without “built-in” RFID.” – RFID is one of those technologies that should be used more in healthcare, but isn’t. It’s inexplicable.
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RFID-initiated workflow control [article]

RFID-initiated workflow control to facilitate patient safety and utilization efficiency in operation theater1

To control the workflow for surgical patients, we in-cooperate radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to develop a Patient Advancement Monitoring System (PAMS) in operation theater.
The web-based PAMS is designed to monitor the whole workflow for the handling of surgical patients. The system integrates multiple data entry ports Across the multi-functional surgical teams. Data are entered into the system through RFID, bar code, palm digital assistance (PDA), ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC), or traditional keyboard at designated checkpoints. Active radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag can initiate data demonstration on the computer screens upon a patient’s arrival at any particular checkpoint along the advancement pathway.
The PAMS can manage the progress of operations, patient localization, identity verification, and peri-operative care. The workflow monitoring provides caregivers’ instant information sharing to enhance management efficiency.
RFID-initiate surgical workflow control is valuable to meet the safety, quality, efficiency requirements in operation theater.

I like the concept that the article presents, but take a look in the methods section and note the presence of “palm digital assistance (PDA)”. That made me a little suspicious about the age of the article. Even though it was published in December 2011, it was received by the journal December 4, 2009; received in revised form August 16, 2010; accepted August 27, 2010 and finally published more than a year later in December 2011. So it took two years from the time the article was received until it was published. This just fuels my opinion that methods used to disseminate medical and scientific information is completely outdated.


  1. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine Vol. 104, Issue 3, Pages 435-442, December 2011

RFID still a solid alternative to barcoding

There’s an interesting article in the most recent issue of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH) about the use of RFID technology in healthcare and what advantages it may offer over current barcoding technology.

I’ve been interested in the use of RFID technology in healthcare for quite some time. I think there’s real value in the use of RFID secondary to the ability to encode significant amounts of information in the tag. The information contained in an RFID tag could potentially include a patient’s medication regimen, allergies and medical condition. The value become obvious when you consider the possibilities during medication administration in the acute care setting.
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Researchers develop anti-counterfeiting RFID technology

Daily Headlines – University of Arkansas: “Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a unique and robust method to prevent cloning of passive radio frequency identification tags. The technology, based on one or more unique physical attributes of individual tags rather than information stored on them, will prevent the production of counterfeit tags and thus greatly enhance both security and privacy for government agencies, businesses and consumers.” – The researchers found that different tags responded to a range of radio frequencies from 903 to 927 MHz, giving them unique characteristics that could be reproduced for identification purposes; electronic fingerprinting. According to the article, this electronic fingerprinting increases security without increasing the cost of producing RFID tags.

Cool Technology for Pharmacy

Healthcare IT Consultant Blog: “VeriChip Corporation Outlines Current Applications and Potential Future Applications for its First-of-a-Kind Implantable RFID Implantable Microchip - VeriChip Corporation, a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems for healthcare and patient-related needs, today provided additional comments regarding its VeriMedâ„¢ Health Link patient identification system following the recent passage of a bill by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives banning forced microchip implantation in humans, and also outlined its current and potential future applications for its RFID implantable microchip. The VeriMed Health Link system was cleared by the FDA in 2004 as a Class II medical device and is the first and only implantable microchip cleared by the FDA for patient identification. “
Continue reading Cool Technology for Pharmacy

RFID vs. barcode “RFID, or radio frequency technology, uses a tag applied to a product in order to identify and track it via radio waves. The 2 parts that make up the tag are an integrated circuit and an antenna. While the circuit processes and stores information, the antenna transmits signals to the RFID reader, also called an interrogator, in order to interpret the data in the tag. In contrast, a barcode is an optical representation of data that can be scanned and then interpreted. The data is represented by the width and spacing of parallel lines, and are often used in POS applications, in addition to tracking objects throughout the supply chain.” – The article goes on to give the advantages of both technologies. The more I read about RFID technology, the more interested I become. While the technology hasn’t really caught fire in health care, I think the utility of RFID demands further investigation.