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10 Common Applications of RFID in Hospitals

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10 common applications of rfid in hospitals

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has brought dynamism to the medical industry. It has many unique applications that help to improve the quality of patient care while reducing the cost of medical treatment.

Research shows that RFID can reduce medical errors, improve patient safety, and increase operational efficiency in hospitals. Here, we look at 10 common applications of RFID in hospitals and how they have transformed service delivery.

Cosmetics and Medicines 

RFID has several functions in the cosmetics & medicine industry. Here, we look at some of the most prominent applications.

  1. Tracking of Medicines During the Production Phase

During medicine production, RFID tags are affixed on containers holding raw materials. The tags help track the movement of these materials, ensuring that they are used as per the production schedule.

This information is critical in ensuring the traceability of the final product. For example, medicine in the same batch must be produced using the same materials. In the event of a quality problem, the manufacturer can pinpoint the exact raw material that could be responsible.

This way, they can remove it from the production chain, enabling them to produce high-quality products.

With RFID, manufacturers can track the movement of raw materials in the production cycle. They can access all the details on their computers, using an RFID management software. This information is critical in decision making.

  1. Counterfeit Identification

You can use RFID tags to identify counterfeit medicine & other cosmetic products. It is a well-known fact that the market is flooded with fake products.

These fake products are often made using substandard materials that can be harmful to human health. By affixing RFID tags on products, manufacturers can create a database of genuine products.

In addition, it can help track the movement of these products from the point of manufacture to the point of sale.This way, law enforcement agencies can identify fake products and take appropriate action against the sellers.

  1. Inventory Management

RFID tags are used for inventory management in hospitals. Tags affixed to medicines and other hospital equipment can help to track their movement.

This information is used to generate reports that show the quantity of each item in stock. This way, hospital staff can know when to order more supplies.

In addition, RFID tags can be used to track the expiration date of medicines and other perishable items. This information is critical in ensuring that only fresh and safe products are used.

Controls of Tools & Disposables in Hospitals

Hospitals use a lot of tools and disposable items. These items are often left lying around, which can lead to cross-contamination. RFID can enhance their disposal in the following ways:

  1. Tracking of Medical Tools

RFID tags can be affixed to medical tools such as scalpels and forceps. The tags contain information about the safety of these tools, sterilization date, and other characteristics.

This way, hospital staff can scan them to get all the details they need. They can use this information to ensure that these tools are sterilized after each use.This is critical in preventing the spread of infections.

  1. Controlling Disposable Items

Hospital waste is highly regulated. This is because some of this waste can be infectious. As such, there is a need to control the disposal of these items.

Hospitals can use RFID tags to track the movement of disposable items such as syringes and gloves. This information is used to prepare reports that show the quantity of waste generated.

It also helps waste regulatory bodies evaluate the disposal methods used by hospitals. This way, they can ensure that these methods are safe and effective.

To achieve this, hospitals use these steps to create an all-inclusive RFID-enabled waste management system:

  • Collection & Sorting. In this department, all the medical waste is segregated into various types. This helps in its easy and efficient collection. For example, infectious waste is segregated from non-infectious waste. Hospitals can achieve this by using color-coded bags.
  • Tagging & Tracking. In this department, an RFID tag is affixed to each bag of waste. This tag contains information such as the type of waste and the collection date. This information is used to track the movement of these bags from the point of collection to the disposal.
  • Disposal. In this department, the waste is disposed of by the regulations set by the government. For example, infectious waste is incinerated while non-infectious waste is sent to landfill sites.

The use of RFID improves the efficiency of the disposal process. This is because it provides real-time information about the location of each bag of waste. This way, hospital staff can know when a particular bag has been disposed of.

Once the disposal is complete, the information is uploaded to a central database. This way, the regulatory bodies can monitor the process to ensure that it is being carried out correctly.

  1. Laundry RFID Tags for Tracking Hospital Apparel 

Cleaning staff & patients’ clothing can be a hassle. RFID laundry tag is particularly challenging to sort and track these items.

This is where RFID comes in. The cleaning staff attaches laundry RFID tags to patients’ clothing. This tag contains information such as the patient’s name and room number.

This information is used to track the clothing throughout the laundry process. In addition, it is used to generate reports that show the quantity of each item in stock. This way, hospital staff can know when to order more supplies.

  1. Tracking Tools Through Sterilization Process

Sterilization is crucial in hospitals. All tools must be sterilized before use. However, knowing which tool has been sterilized can be a challenge.

Fortunately, RFID tagging can be used to track tools throughout the sterilization process. This information generates reports that show the status of each tool.This way, hospital staff can scan the tool to find out its status before use.

They will get a comprehensive report on the date of sterilization, the name of the machine used, and the staff member who performed the sterilization. This information is vital in preventing the spread of infections.

Other Uses of RFID in Hospitals

  1. RFID for Patient Identification 

In hospitals, it is important to identify patients correctly. This is because the wrong treatment can have dire consequences.

RFID can be used to create a patient identification system. This system uses RFID tags to store information such as the patient’s name, medical history, and allergies.

  • RFID for Asset Tracking

In hospitals, RFID asset tracking tag is critical to keep track of all the assets. This is because they are expensive and vital for the functioning of the hospital.

RFID can be used to create an asset tracking system. This system uses RFID tags to store information such as the asset’s location, serial number, and date of purchase.

This way, hospital staff can know where each asset is at all times. In addition, they can generate reports that show the status of each asset.

This information is vital in ensuring that the hospital’s assets are well-maintained.

  1. RFID for Access Control

Hospitals have highly private & confidential data. It is important to control who has access to certain areas.

RFID can be used to create an access control system. This system uses RFID tags to store information such as the staff member’s name, position, and clearance level.

What is the Role of RFID in Healthcare?

RFID plays a vital role in automating healthcare processes. It offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved Service Delivery

There is utmost need to ensure patients’ comfortability and safety in healthcare facilities. The patients should feel that they are in good hands. Service delivery should, therefore, be of high quality.

With RFID, staff can monitor patients’ vital signs in real-time. This information is used to provide the necessary care. For example, if a patient’s blood pressure drops, the staff will be alerted, and they can take the necessary measures.

  • Improved Inventory Management

Inventory management is a critical process in healthcare. This is because hospitals use a lot of drugs and other medical supplies. As such, there is a need to ensure that these items are always available when needed.

RFID helps in the management of hospital inventory in several ways. For example, it can be used to track the movement of drugs from the point of manufacture to the point of use. This information is used to restock these drugs.

In addition, RFID can be used to track the expiration dates of drugs and other medical supplies. This information is used to remove these items from inventory before they expire.

  • Improved Patient Safety

Patient safety is of paramount importance in healthcare. This is because hospitals deal with a lot of vulnerable people. As such, there is a need to ensure that these patients are always safe.

RFID can be used to track the movement of patients within a healthcare facility. This information is used to provide the necessary care. For example, if a patient suffers a heart attack, the staff will be alerted and they can take the necessary measures.

In addition, RFID can also be used to track the movement of medical supplies within a healthcare facility. This way, the staff can ensure that these items are always available when needed.

  • Improved Regulatory Compliance

Hospitals are required to comply with a lot of regulations. These regulations are set by the government and they vary from country to country.

The use of RFID can help hospitals to comply with these regulations. For example, RFID can be used to track the movement of medical waste. This is because it provides real-time information about the location of each bag of waste. This way, hospital staff can know when a particular bag has been disposed of.

Once the disposal is complete, the information is uploaded to a central database. This way, the hospital can prove that it has complied with the regulations.

  • Improved Emergency Response

Emergencies happen all the time in healthcare. This is because hospitals deal with a lot of vulnerable people. As such, there is a need to ensure that these patients are always safe.

RFID can be used to track the progress of every patient. RFID tags will pick sharp changes in their vitals and send a message to their care givers/nurses.

Consequently, the doctors & nurses will respond immediately to stabilize the patient. This way, the patient will be guaranteed of optimum healthcare service.

Type of RFID Technology Used in Hospitals

Now that we’ve looked at some of the common applications of RFID in hospitals, let’s take a look at the type of RFID technology used in these facilities.

The most common type of RFID technology used in healthcare is passive RFID. This is because passive RFID tags are relatively inexpensive and they don’t require a power source.

However,passive RFID tags have a shorter range than passive RFID tags. This means that they can only be read from a short distance.

Active RFID tags are also used in healthcare. However, they are not as common as passive RFID tags. This is because active RFID tags are more expensive and they require a power source.

In addition, active RFID tags can be read from a distance. This is important in healthcare because it allows the staff to track the movement of patients and assets without having to be nearby.

Most of these tags are packaged in:

  • Wristbands. These are used to track the movement of patients. Each patient is given a wristband that contains an RFID tag. The tag is then used to track the patient’s location.
  • Labels. These are used to track the movement of assets. Each asset is given a label that contains an RFID tag. The tag is then used to track the asset’s location.
  • Tags. These are used to track the movement of medical supplies. Each supply is given a tag that contains an RFID tag. The tag is then used to track the location of the supply.

Hospitals use a variety of RFID technologies to track the movement of patients, assets, and medical supplies. The most common type of RFID technology used in these facilities is passive RFID due to its affordability & ease of maintaining.

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