Wherever assets require tracking, RFID is one of the best solutions for it. Despite being wholly different from the typical industries that use it, the medical sector realised that it has a lot to gain by leveraging on RFID’s strengths. Now, more and more health centres are incorporating RFID into their operations to better protect both their daily and critical assets.
This is due to the many benefits that involve enhancing the quality of care offered, saving money, and boosting work performance. As such, it has become even more popular due to its capabilities of tracking medication and patients, managing important medical equipment, and laundry operations.
To know how RFID asset tracking is commonly used in the health industry, discover the 4 assets they usually track.
1. Patients’ medical records
When it comes to administering aid, medical professionals must be fully informed on matters regarding their patients. This knowledge allows them to provide the correct treatment required, avoid potentially dangerous mistakes, and, most importantly, prevent the endangerment of lives.
RFID technology helps mitigate those risks tremendously by holding crucial information on the patients, typically in RFID-enabled wristbands. Besides such info, each patient could be assigned a unique identifier linked to the hospital’s database, wherein their past medical records are stored and retrieved. By merely scanning these RFID tags, medical practitioners can gain accurate, reliable and instant access to their patients’ records.
Besides tracking various hospital assets, the active variation of RFID can also pinpoint the location of staff and patients within the premises. This allows superiors to detect and identify issues and inefficiencies in their employee’s workflow, primarily to optimise the moving of patients in and out of various departments while assigning the proper medical staff.
2. Private areas and rooms
Whether public or private, there will always be certain areas in hospitals that are off-limits both to its regular staff, clients and patients. Like in other industries, RFID has its uses when it comes to the security of assets and, in this case, restricted areas in health centres and its facilities.
RFID can be implemented as a means of granting access to these private restricted areas. One common application is to embed certain RFID tags that contain access levels on the ID cards of authorised personnel. In combination with an accompanying authentication system, this method will restrict entry only to a limited reserved number of staff within the medical facility or hospital.
3. Surgical tools and similar equipment
Certain reusable tools, such as those used in surgeries like scissors, clamps, forceps, and the like, pose dire health risks if not properly sanitised after every use. In addition to general tracking, usage for the RFID tags of these equipment can be further extended to include tracing as to whether they’ve been sterilised or not.
By doing so, surgeons and other personnel can verify that every tool at their disposal has been properly cleaned, eliminating the risk of preventable incidents from occurring. Also, not every type of tag can survive a thorough autoclave autocleaning process. As such, it’s best to know the autoclave types that the hospital employs and use the appropriate tag for each of the tools that go through them.
4. Single-use and medical technology devices
Besides reusables, hospitals contain two more types of assets: consumables and large equipment. The former includes, but is not limited to, needles, gauzes, surgical gloves, and plastic vials. By implementing RFID tool tracking into these items’ usage logging system, management can closely monitor the stocks of these items, allowing for timely resupplies. In addition to that, wasteful usage and theft will also be discouraged among staff; since for single-use items, the management will typically prefer to record the individuals that used them.
When it comes to the latter type, a whole slew of items can be tracked, from regular hospital beds to more advanced medical equipment. Due to their expensive and rather indispensable use to the hospital, keeping a close eye on their whereabouts within the premises is of utmost importance. The reason being is that since some of this machinery isn’t of an everyday kind, replacing them will both take time and a hefty sum. As such, by attaching discreet RFID tags onto critical assets, theft and misplacement can be avoided, with accountability guaranteed for all personnel that use them.
Thanks to RFID’s strengths, medical centres have become more stringent and careful when it comes to protecting their valuable assets. By having all their tools readily available and in serviceable condition, medical practitioners can be more confident and retain focus in their daily work.