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FEIG ELECTRONIC

Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto relies on RFID in the OR area

Use Cases | By FEIG ELECTRONIC | 12 April 2016
The „departure board“ for the OR: A unique ID number is assigned to each patient. This anonymous number is used to inform family members about the status of a patient’s operations. Similar to an airport departure board there are monitors in the waiting area. Waiting family members get updated information on the progress of the operation, without having to ask OR staff, in real time. The „departure board“ for the OR: A unique ID number is assigned to each patient. This anonymous number is used to inform family members about the status of a patient’s operations. Similar to an airport departure board there are monitors in the waiting area. Waiting family members get updated information on the progress of the operation, without having to ask OR staff, in real time. Photo: Sunnybrook Hospital

A new level of patient care and providing of OR status reports with UHF readers from Feig Electronic

At hospital, non-mobile in-patients spend most of their time in their rooms. An assignment to their patient files is easy, as long as they stay where they are. Out-patients, for example, getting chemotherapy in an Oncology Centre, or patients who need surgery, need to be clearly identified. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre based in Toronto, Canada, uses RFID technology to safely identify patients, avoid confusion and to optimise management processes. In an interview with ‘RFID im Blick’ Ellie Lee, Manager OR Information Management Services, explains how RFID improves communication with members of the patients family.

Ellie Lee, Manager OR Information Management Services, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in interview with ‘RFID im Blick’

Patient tracking during surgery

In 2015, system integrator RFID Canada installed UHF long range readers from Feig Electronic in the adjacent areas and transitions of 19 operating rooms. The aim is to track the approximately 13,500 annual surgical patients on their way to surgical preparation, to the operating theater, to the recovery room and subsequently back to the ward. “There used to be handwritten documentation on patient whereabouts during operating processes, which were not available in real time. This delay was fine because the nursing staff primarily takes care of patients. Nevertheless, there were process challenges, and patients had to wait longer than necessary in one of the surgical areas,” says Ellie Lee, explaining the reasons for the RFID deployment.

“RFID makes it possible to locate patients in the operating room in real time – so numerous improvements in patient care are feasible. In addition, family members are quickly informed on the status of the operation without involving additional human resources.” - Ellie Lee, Manager OR Information Management Services, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

The trick with the file

Instead of providing the patient with an RFID wristband, there are two transponders on the patients file cover. “On the one hand, there is the risk that the patients’ arm is under the patient’s body. Then, transponder detection is hardly possible. On the other hand, in hospital, patient records are always transported together with the patient,” Ellie Lee summarises, going on to explain: “We use two transponders on the patient file in horizontal and vertical alignment. So we ensure the best possible registration. It was important that the transponder looks official - with a logo and a serial number printed on it.

During our initial tests with blank transponders, the staff was confused, they thought the transponders were tape and removed them. “Emergency patients coming into the operating room without medical records, will have a Plexiglas plate put on their beds’ clip board where two transponders are attached. After leaving the surgical area, the file covers are thrown into special containers so that they can be reprocessed (cleaned) and reused. “If a patient is noted as ‘dismissed’ in the system and the file cover was forgotten and not taken off the bed, the exit antennas will signal an alarm. Practically no items get lost.”

Each transition is registered

The ID ISC.LRU1002 Fixed UHF
Longe Range Reader from Feig Electronic.The ID ISC.LRU1002 Fixed UHF Longe Range Reader from Feig Electronic: Read rages up to 12 meters | Installation of up to four antennas | Four antenna indicators | Integrated multiplexer | UCODE DNA support | EPC Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) support | Four different modes of operation | RSSI value outputThe currently used infrastructure consists of Feig Electronic ID ISC.LRU1002 Fixed UHF Longe Range Readers that control three antennas in each transition area (surgical preparation, surgery, recovery rooms and Surgical Short Stay). “The antennas are placed in the walls horizontally and vertically, and also integrated in the ceilings. This alignment enables accurate registration of file tags. The antennas are protected against damage by a stainless steel frame,” says Ellie Lee. With the RFID registration of patients moving between operating facilities on different floors, waiting times and shortages can be avoided.” Today, information exchange in real time ensures that no patient has to wait in an area longer than necessary. Quite the opposite, we can rule out the possibility of empty beds not being used, because we know exactly, thanks to RFID, which beds are occupied and which are not,” Ellie Lee says, pointing out the procedural benefits.

Knowing without having to ask

Self-service terminal with integrated RFID reader. Patients get all information on
dates and stages of their treatment after they have registered via RFID cardSelf-service terminal with integrated RFID reader. Patients get all information on dates and stages of their treatment after they have registered via RFID card Each patient has a unique ID number, which can be used to inform relatives about the operation of a patient. Monitors in the waiting area - similar to an information board at the airport – updates the information in real time so the family members see where the related patient is at that moment. “Only the patient ID is displayed on the monitors, which is known only to the family members. If a patient is moved, for example, from the preparation to the operating room, the display starts flashing and a signal is audible. Patient data is protected and thus the work load is taken off hospital staff, because they do not continuously need to provide information on an individual patient’s status to family members,” says Ellie Lee. In case a patient was not able to notify the family about his or her ID number, there is a kiosk system which can do so. “By entering the name and the date of birth, the patient ID can be accessed.”

Less work - more information

It is important for Sunnybrooks’ treatment reports, staff planning and patient flow control to know which patient spends how much time in which department. RFID technology is perfectly suited for it, Ellie Lee is convinced. “RFID registers all relevant information in real time without an employee having to manually enter data into a computer. This provides more time for nursing and patient care services.

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 13:36
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