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Invisible Accessories of Draeger in the OR and ICU | Interview with “RFID im Blick”

Use Cases | By PR RFID im Blick | 28 May 2015
In case a ventilator patient has to be transported, all respiration parameters can be stored on the RFID circuit. The reduced workload helps staff to improve the treatment of patients. In case a ventilator patient has to be transported, all respiration parameters can be stored on the RFID circuit. The reduced workload helps staff to improve the treatment of patients. Photo: Dräger

With the development of an RFID application to optimise processes in the OR and ICU, Draeger have hit the mark – the demand for this solution is increasing

Is the breathing circuit connected properly? When does the flow sensor need to be replaced? These and other questions designed to optimise processes are answered by an RFID application using ventilation and anesthesia accessories produced by Draeger. “RFID technology is the basis for numerous ways of optimising processes using different ventilation and anesthesia accessories. Possible confusion is minimised, exchange intervals are displayed automatically and patient parameter settings are stored and transferred between the different devices – this supports safe work processes, even when things get hectic in the operating room or intensive care unit. The RFID technology contributes significantly to better working comfort,” explains Andreas Otto, who is responsible for the RFID product development at Draeger.

Andreas Otto, Senior Product Manager, Draeger, in an interview with “RFID im Blick”

RFID Innovation in Intensive Care Units

“We see ourselves as pioneers, enabling communication between devices and accessories using RFID,” says Andreas Otto. “When we brought the first ventilators with integrated RFID technology to the market in 2009, it was an international first.” Working with an RFID reader and antenna manufacturer and a company specialising in RFID labels, Draeger developed an application based on HF frequency to support, as an example, the correct connection of accessories to ventilation and anesthesia equipment for operating theatres and intensive care units. In addition to conventional label transponders on disposable products, Draeger uses autoclavable transponders for recyclable accessories, which easily withstand temperatures of up to 134 degrees Celsius in the vapour pressure sterilisation process. “Apart from mismatch control our solution provides other functions that support hospital staff in their work. Currently, there are 24 different accessories with RFID functionality. “

RFID instead of colour coding

Standards require that breathing circuit connectors are designed uniformly. This apparently limits the use of colour or mechanical markings, such as indentation. “By using RFID externally, highly standardised components can be distinguished by audible and visual alarms. So we can help to increase the safety by recognising possible connection errors,” explains Andreas Otto.

Control of breathing circuits with RFID

Breathing circuits are manufactured for different categories of patients, for example for adults, children or newborns. However, the connectors are the same for most models, which can easily lead to confusion. “To help with the correct assignment of the circuits to the patient or to the device, we have an HF RFID transponder integrated into the port. If a circuit is inserted upside-down on the inspiratory port of the ventilator, this is detected by a built-in antenna port and a visual and/ or an audible warning is triggered. An alarm is also triggered when a circuit is connected that does not match the category of patient which is preset in the device,” explains Andreas Otto in relation to the RFID technology’s control function. “Innovative wireless technology is also used when connecting a breathing bag. So, for example, if plugged to the wrong port of an anesthesia machine, the breathing bag and not the patient would be ventilated. RFID will avoid this.“

The RFID enabled device automatically detects whether the CO2 absorber “Soda Lime Container” is properly placed in the holder or just on stand-by position. Immediately after ventilation starts, an alarm is triggered if the absorber is not in the correct position.The RFID enabled device automatically detects whether the CO2 absorber “Soda Lime Container” is properly placed in the holder or just on stand-by position. Immediately after ventilation starts, an alarm is triggered if the absorber is not in the correct position.

Configuration data is stored on the transponder

If a patient who needs to be permanently ventilated is transferred from the operating room to ICU, the RFID solution helps staff configure the ventilators, says Andreas Otto: “The ventilation configuration differs from patient to patient, affected by age, size and weight, but also according to how much help the patient needs to breathe. These parameter settings have to be set individually by hospital staff within the ventilation and anesthesia equipment. In our system, all settings are stored on the connector circuit transponder and are automatically read and applied when connected to another device.”

Simplified exchange control

Ventilation and anesthesia equipment accessories are regularly replaced to ensure their smooth functioning and this guarantees the safety of ventilated patients. “Without RFID, replacement interval documentation is carried out using handwritten lists or stickers on the accessories. This means that the clinical staff have to inspect the handwritten data regularly so that no replacement is overlooked. “The RFID transponder in the accessory connectors simplifies this control considerably. Individual intervals can be programmed for the exchange of breathing circuits, but also for breathing flow sensors, expiration valves or breathing soda lime containers. If there is an exchange, employees are automatically notified with a screen message,” explains Andreas Otto.

Automated Compatibility Check

“RFID-enabled devices from Draeger are not only able to detect incorrectly connected accessories, they can also automatically check whether the accessory is approved and certified for use with the equipment,” says Andreas Otto. Using the automatic compatibility check, any potential risks for the patient or for the functioning of the device can be prevented.

Demand is increasing

Since 2009, the number of devices with RFID functionality has grown, and other accessories with RFID transponders are also available. “Ventilation and anesthesia equipment in hospitals lasts between eight and ten years. Investment in innovative equipment is closely scrutinsed by the purchasing department. Hospitals can choose whether to use our accessories with the added value of RFID technology or whether to source foreign products. The active market signals that our innovation is needed, so it is our medium-term goal to provide a large number of accessories with RFID functionality,” says, Andreas Otto considering the company’s future strategic emphasis.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 October 2015 13:06
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