Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology has been utilised over the years for a variety of purposes – managing police equipment, locating stock items that may have misplace or missing, limiting access to restricted areas, and so forth. The innovation has definitely proven itself to be very useful not just to non-essential businesses, but also to the critical essentials like the healthcare industry and recently, the fight against COVID-19 has been added to its repertoire of capabilities.
For a general overview, the microchips that are embedded into individual RFID tags are the catalysts for the role that RFID plays in declining the number of COVID-19 cases. This technology helps managers gain more control and visibility despite the erratic and constant changing landscape wrought by the pandemic.
But for a more in-depth discussion on how RFID is used to quell the global health crisis, read on – there are three key RFID applications to be aware of.
1. RFID can authenticate antibody test kits and PPEs
Given the technology’s ability to both keep track and transfer data in real-time, managers use RFID in authenticating antibody test kits. This helps in making sure that all test kits are used before they reach their expiration dates, and that they aren’t used beyond the stipulated shelf life. RFID is also used to help clinicians keep track of the number of test kits that they currently house to avoid shortages or overruns.
PPEs or personal protective equipment are an essential asset that helps keep healthcare workers safe from contracting the virus. Usually, PPEs aren’t individually tagged, but rather by their shipment boxes or cartons. Tagging these boxes helps to make sure that important information like its manufacturer and intended users is readily available.
2. RFID helps in the management and administration of vaccines
RFID asset tracking is widely used by different businesses so that they can track specific assets as they are deployed to different distributors or locations. In the fight against COVID-19, they are used to track and authenticate vials of vaccines in their journey from the manufacturer, to the freezer, all the way to their administration site.
Just like with PPEs, RFID can also be used to store information to identify the manufacturer and the expiry date of each vial of the vaccine. In this way, the person receiving the shot is guaranteed that their vaccine isn’t a counterfeit and is not tampered. Additionally, RFID can also help managers keep track of how many shots have been administered, which can then be used to generate a report for the revelent Health ministries and the World Health Organisation.
3. RFID aids in maintaining maximum health standards in hospitals
In the healthcare industry, the correct handwashing technique is given much emphasis to ensure that everything and everyone is properly sanitised based on the recommended procedure. Coupled with the current global health crisis, the washing of hands has never been more important. Hospitals know this too well, but for added reinforcement, RFID technology can be used to make sure that all medical staff are compliant with the hand-washing protocol.
An RFID reader can be placed in a handwashing station so that it can read an RFID tag attached to a staff’s nameplate or uniform. This can then be used to keep track of staff who has and hasn’t washed their hands, as well as how frequently they wash their hands. This will ultimately ensure that health standards within the hospital are monitored and maintained.
The coronavirus situation is grave, and precautionary measures have to be taken to manage the pandemic. It has changed the landscape of the global economy and is a serious health hazard. But with the help of RFID technology, coupled with everyone’s compliance to established protective measures, the world will gradually recover from the pandemic.