HID Global

HID Global: RFID offers more than just RTLS technology!

Articles | By HID Global | 01 April 2015
Miniature RFID transponders, created using HID direct bonding technology, are integrated in the bottom of the tubes and are readable at almost any temperature. Miniature RFID transponders, created using HID direct bonding technology, are integrated in the bottom of the tubes and are readable at almost any temperature. Photo: HID Global

Even though it has numerous applications, RFID is still a niche technology in the medical environment – there is no reason for it to be, as various innovative and economic solutions demonstrate

There are multiple ways RFID can benefit the medical sector. Human error or confusion, the worst case scenarios, can lead to patient deaths. “The potential to use RFID in healthcare is deployed more than most people are aware of – and not just from a theoretical point of view,“ Eric Suligoj points out. “Transponders are used in various shapes and sizes, and in addition reader modules from our portfolio are already used in countless applications in virtually all medical areas.“ Eric Suligoj talks with “RFID im Blick“ about the processes in which RFID is already used for optimisation.

Eric Suligoj, Director Business Development – Industry & Logistics, HID Global in an interview with “RFID im Blick”

Suitable for all processes?

RFID technology delivers added value in a variety of healthcare applications – the main benefits are transparent processes and ensuring the safety of patients and medical staff. HID transponders using LF, HF and UHF frequencies – including glass, miniature and textile transponders – have been deployed into countless applications and have proved their utility. “We do not favour any particular frequency or technology, but always answer the requirements of the application and of the customer. As an example, LF transponders can be completely surrounded by metal, HF transponders with FRAM chips are resistant to radiation and UHF offers the largest reading range,” explains Eric Suligoj.

Mr. Suligoj, what are the major barriers to the breakthrough of RFID technology in healthcare?

Eric SuligojEric Suligoj The benefits of RFID technology are not yet widely known in the healthcare industry. Due to the limited or shrinking budgets of hospitals and healthcare facilities, there is little interest in using innovative technologies to optimise processes. Even solutions that are profitable used in other institutions are rarely applied elsewhere. Every hospital wants to test the solutions themselves right from the beginning. Further barriers are often inadequate. For example, IT infrastructures for electronic workflow and a lack of authority to determine the successful use of RFID. Basically, innovation projects in healthcare take a long time to be validated and decisions made about their use. Even pilot schemes and possible subsequent roll-outs can often last for several years – only in rare cases has implementation taken less than 18 months.

“RFID is the way to improve patient safety, to avoid the confusion of medical samples, and to properly configure surgery equipment and to avoid costs.“

And yet the benefits are obvious ...

Definitely! And not just in theory, but in countless applications throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East. RFID is the way to improve patient safety, to avoid the confusion of medical samples, and to properly configure surgery equipment and to avoid costs – these include direct expenses such as coordinating technical equipment, bed occupancy, stocking up on textiles as well as indirect expenses such as insurance and legal issues that can be avoided through the use of RFID.

Apart from the benefits mentioned above – does RFID really pay off?

I want to answer this question with a practical example. If a sponge is left in a patient’s body during an operation it has serious human and financial consequences – especially for the patient, but also for the hospital treating them. An RFID application with a transponder in the sponge will bring the possibility of such an error right down to zero. The benefits clearly outshine the cost. Even the basic ROI is often quickly achieved by an increased patient turnover for the same quality of treatment, a higher capacity in the departments and by avoiding rental costs for equipment and textiles.

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 07:30
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