RFID technology is revolutionizing the health care industry. It helps in improving patient safety and quality of care while reducing costs.
Hospitals use RFID tags to track patients, medical equipment, and drugs. They can also use them to monitor hand hygiene compliance and prevent healthcare-associated infections.
Here, we will discuss how RFID technology is used in hospitals, its benefits, and the challenges associated with its deployment.
What is RFID Technology for Hospitals?
RFID technology uses radio waves to communicate between devices. It can be applied in various hospital departments such as the emergency room, operating room, intensive care unit, and pharmacy.
Their primary intention is to boost efficiency, patient safety, and quality of care. For instance, an RFID tag on a patient’s wristband can help doctors and nurses track their whereabouts in the hospital.
Similarly, attaching RFID tags to medical equipment can help staff to locate them quickly. And, tagging drugs can help to prevent errors in medication administration.
RFID Tags for Hospitals Application Rationale
RFID tags have several components that ensure flawless functioning. These include an integrated circuit, an antenna, and a substrate.
The integrated circuit is where information is stored, and the antenna is used to receive and transmit radio waves. The substrate connects the other two components and protects them from damage.
These tags are encoded with unique identification numbers. They are then attached to objects/patients using different methods such as sewing, gluing, or clipping. The hospital will then install fixed RFID readers at strategic locations.
These readers emit radio waves that activate the tags. When the tag responds, it transmits its identification number to the reader. The reader then forwards this information to a hospital computer system where it can be used by authorized personnel.
Hospital personnel can also use handheld RFID readers to scan tags. These are particularly useful in emergencies when time is of the essence.
Areas that Benefit from RFID Tags in Hospitals
Hospitals are busy and have different departments that must run smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the areas where RFID technology is being used:
- Data Management
Hospitals collect a lot of sensitive data, and it must be managed correctly. RFID tags can help to track and manage this data by storing information such as the patient’s medical history, medications, and allergies.
This information can be accessed quickly and easily by authorized personnel with the help of RFID readers. This technology can also be used to monitor and analyze a patient’s health condition over time.
Eco RFID inlays/tags can be used to track the movement of medical supplies and equipment in hospitals. This information is stored in a central database that can be accessed by authorized personnel.
This system can help hospital staff to locate items quickly and keep track of inventory levels. It can also help to prevent the theft of hospital property.
Hospitals have a lot of assets, including medical equipment, vehicles, and buildings. If not well managed, these assets can be lost or stolen.
UHF RFID inlays/tags can help to track and manage these assets by storing information such as the asset’s location, serial number, and value. This information can be accessed quickly and easily by authorized personnel with the help of RFID readers.
Additionally, hospital personnel can use RFID tags to monitor the usage of assets. This information can be used to optimize asset utilization and prevent misuse.
- Patient Tracking
This is, by far, the most critical application of RFID technology in hospitals. It guarantees patients’ safety and helps to prevent errors during their treatment.
It can track the location, identity, and medical condition of patients in real-time. Additionally, it can store information such as the patient’s medical history, medications, and allergies.
Whenever a doctor/nurse needs this information, they can access it quickly and easily with the help of RFID readers. This way, there can never be a mistake in the treatment of a patient.
- Hand Hygiene Compliance
It is estimated that healthcare-associated infections cost the global healthcare system billions of dollars each year.nRFID technology is being used to monitor hand hygiene compliance in hospitals. This system uses sensors to detect when and how often healthcare workers wash their hands.
The data collected can help to improve hand hygiene compliance rates and reduce the spread of infections in hospitals. This way, patients can be assured of receiving quality care in a safe environment.
- Drug Administration
RFID tags can be used to track the movement of drugs in hospitals. This section is critical since it determines the patient’s health and safety.
The use of RFID tags can help to prevent errors in drug administration. It can also help to monitor the expiration dates of drugs and ensure that only safe and effective medications are used.
- Medical Research and Training
Hospitals are also using RFID tags for medical research and training purposes. This technology can be used to track the progress of a patient’s condition over time.
It can also be used to store information about clinical trials and research studies. This way, doctors and nurses can access research findings quickly and easily. This way, they can provide better care to their patients.
Benefits of Using RFID Tags for Hospitals
- Reduced Treatment Errors. This technology can help to reduce treatment errors by providing doctors and nurses with quick and easy access to patients’ medical information. All the prescriptions, medical records, and lab results can be stored on a single RFID tag.
- Improved Patient Safety. By tracking the location of patients in real-time, hospital staff can quickly respond to any emergencies. Additionally, this technology can help to prevent errors in drug administration and eliminate the risk of mix-ups.
- Reduced Costs. The use of RFID tags can help to reduce the costs associated with lost or stolen assets. Additionally, it can help to improve asset utilization and prevent the misuse of hospital resources.
- Improved Staff Efficiency. This technology can help hospital staff quickly locate items and keep track of inventory levels. It can also help to monitor hand hygiene compliance and optimize the use of assets.
Overall, you can expect significant improvements in the quality of care and safety of patients when RFID tags are used in hospitals. The technology allows for better asset management, patient tracking, and compliance with infection control protocols.