Commonly Asked Questions About The Use Of RFID In Healthcare

Commonly Asked Questions About The Use Of RFID In Healthcare

Commonly Asked Questions About The Use Of RFID In Healthcare

The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly invested in RFID technology. In fact, recent market research has shown that investments in RFID by the industry will exponentially grow by the end of 2021, into 2022.

One of the main reasons behind the increasing interest of the healthcare industry in RFID is the sheer number of applications it can benefit. In hospitals, particularly, the RFID technology is already present in various forms, from marking surgical tools to tracking patients and staff.

As the interest in RFID gradually increases, more and more questions about the technology and its utility also arise both inside and outside the healthcare industry.

So, read on below for some of the common questions that people ask regarding the use of RFID in healthcare environments – and how they’ll be uncovered with the appropriate answers.

1. Is the use of RFID technology safe for the patients?

Safety is one of the main concerns of many people who are quite unsure about how RFID works. Some of them question whether the electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by RFID readers may be harmful to human health.  In essence, the simple answer to the question as to whether or not RFID is safe for patients is YES.

According to the research of the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as several other scientific studies, exposure to EMF below the recommended limits in internationally adopted guidelines is not shown to have any known negative effects on human health. Neither the radio frequency energy nor the RFID tools pose any serious health risks to patients.

2. Do RFID tags interfere with medical equipment?

The possibility of disruption to medical devices caused by RFID tags is quite low since passive tags only reflect the radio frequency energy released from RFID readers.

The only time RFID may cause interference with medical equipment is when the other parts of an RFID system, such as the antenna that emits the radio frequency energy, are incorrectly placed too close to other devices. It has been established, an RFID system that’s properly configured is generally safe to use near medical devices.

3. What are the uses of RFID in healthcare settings?

The capabilities of RFID in asset tracking are generally applicable to healthcare settings. Some of the main uses of RFID in the healthcare industry are inventory tracking and authentication. Compared to barcodes and manual tracking, RFID tags have the ability to track liquid-filled assets and drugs in a quicker and more efficient manner. Some hospitals and pharmaceuticals also utilise RFID for authentication purposes since counterfeiting is becoming increasingly rampant and hard to identify due to the high costs of prescriptions and medications.

Aside from tracking and authenticating assets in inventory, the RFID technology is also useful in monitoring patients and staff. Currently, many hospitals around the world are already using passive RFID and some instances of active RFID to track and monitor patients and staff throughout the facilities. The main purposes of equipping hospital patients and staff with RFID tags are to verify information, easily locate people, and minimise wait times and potential bottlenecks.

In hospitals with daily surgeries, they can utilise an RFID tool tracking system to manage surgical equipment, such as scalpels, scissors, clamps, and retractors. These tools need to be always available, cleanised, and disinfected. Otherwise, they may disrupt surgeries or carry harmful bacteria due to not being sterilised or improper transportation. With the use of RFID tags, these surgical tools can be easily tracked and with assurance that they  have been properly sterilised.

Conclusion

The RFID technology brings plenty of benefits to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Hence, it is not surprising to see how the use of RFID is rapidly growing in popularity within the healthcare industry.

As more and more people become interested in the utility and advantages of RFID, the technology is being incorporated within the industry as a vital tool for the improvement of healthcare services.