Passive and Active RFID in the Healthcare Environment

By Al Hardy, Hardy Asset Management Consultant

The plot of my book Covering Your Assets By Exposing The Butt-Ugly Truth hinges on a successfully securing the business case for a Real-Time Location System (RTLS). This case deals with demand-driven equipment in transit to a specific location. These transitions accompany personnel actions and status changes for a fleet of mobile medical equipment previously managed by a vendor. The value more than pays for additional RTLS hardware, applications, and location resolution.

“The future of hospitals lies in a completely automated system,” says Erick Jones, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington in his paper, “The Marriage of Passive and Active Technologies in Healthcare,” co-written by Angela Garza, Gowthaman Anatakrishnan and Jaikrit Kandari. “As discussed, RFID has seen success in various aspects of healthcare operations both in passive and active technology. By utilizing both technologies, a hospital can find a more cost-efficient and reliable manner to conduct their operations.”

But, there are concerns: How is the RTLS system managed? Who builds and maintains the interface into the materials management information system (MMIS) or charge capture applications? Will all of these add to overhead cost? What if I buy now and there are advancements? These are just a few.

In almost any situation, technology providers and trade associations can help with your questions, answers and solutions. For example, there are solution providers who work with distributors so medical supplies ship from the source with embedded RFID tags that are pre-encoded with appropriate information. They build interfaces for the MMIS and charge capture on appropriate items.

Continued healthcare RTLS innovations are expected, including expanding the practice of embedding RFID tags into metal products and supplies during the manufacturing process. The promise of future innovation is no reason not to begin pursuing RTLS and RFID asset management today

With the offerings that are on the market today, building a business case for the “cost-efficient and reliable” methods that Jones et al wrote about using active and passive technology is worth a thorough investigation.

Xerafy found support for these principles and its products while exhibiting at the AdvaMed 2012 conference in Boston earlier this week. Xerafy showcased their RFID solutions for healthcare, like its XS Series On-Metal RFID tags and asset tracking solution with partners Redledge and Fairfield. The XS tags are biocompatible, meet non-toxic medical standards, can withstand autoclave use and are used in numerous healthcare RFID applications, including:

  • Asset location
  • UID unique identifier number for medical devices
  • Surgical tray tracking
  • Loss prevention
  • Surgical navigation in minimally evasive surgery
  • Laboratory specimen tracking

A short video demonstration of the healthcare solution that was on display at AdvaMed can be seen on our Facebook page. For more information on how Xerafy is RFID enabling healthcare, download our Healthcare FAQs.

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