May 08, 2020
The unprecedented pandemic of our times, SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, has been giving us unforeseen challenges globally, leading to a conscious shift in the way we think and act for tasks that we’ve been good at doing even subconsciously. We live in times where healthcare facilities turn into virus transmission hubs, and the lives of lifesavers are exposed to potential threats. Such is the challenge that touchless treatment is needed, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is the key to digitization.
RFID technology helps us to control the spread of viruses through touchless data and asset management systems. This solution enables hospitals and medical clinics to maintain a robust and efficient supply chain. With the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, the adoption of RFID solutions in the healthcare sector gains high importance and urgency. RFID technology aids the healthcare sector in the following ways:
Aiding with Staff Social Distancing
The graphical representation of this personnel movement in application software enables live monitoring of the situation by the healthcare administration. This helps to maintain necessary social distancing, which is a prerequisite to control the spread of this deadly virus. RFID handheld or portable readers also helps doctors and staff identify a patient by reading the wristband from a desired safe distance and provide record digitally such as medical history and the medication/treatment being offered by mapping the hospitals existing MIS/ERP/HMS/HIS.
Tracking Patient & Staff Locations
RFID wristbands help in identifying and tracking individual patients, doctors, caretakers, and other healthcare professionals. RFID wristbands are waterproof, chemical resistant, and tamper-proof. Each RFID Wristband has a unique ID that is mapped with the person’s database. The color-wise categorization of the wristbands provides a distinct physical differentiation between the patients and healthcare professionals, such as patient types, COVID, and non-COVID in the current case. Wristbands can also track healthcare professionals who have been assigned special duties in these wards to prevent contamination. This would help healthcare facilities for effective management and take necessary precautions.
Preventing Intruders from Infecting Staff
The hospital or the designated area can be virtually divided into zones through geo-mapping. It can alert the administration when there’s trespassing or more than the permitted capacity of personnel near one another in a prone zone. Fixed readers installed at the entry/exit points of these COVID treatment wards, ICUs, and as well as in the rooms acts as a checkpoint and identifies the in/out the movement of visitors, patients, and medical staff.
Protecting Healthcare Supply Chains
This technology enhances the visibility and monitoring of assets. It protects the healthcare professionals by limiting the physical contact with it for management purposes by eliminating the need for separate scanning of every individual item. Unlike barcode technology, RFID provides quick and complete data of multiple assets simultaneously by the simple swish of the RFID reader over the assets from the desired distance embedded with RFID tags. Listed below are examples of healthcare items that can be tracked and monitored using RFID technology:
Enabling Safe Sterilization of Supplies
The sterilization process is one of the important practices of healthcare facilities to keep microorganisms at bay. Gamma sterilization enables the healthcare industry to yield better results at a quick turnaround time. It has been the principal method of sterilization since the introduction of single-use medical devices.
Providing a User-Friendly System
The RFID application software system and the middle-ware form the backbone of the real-time patient and asset tracking system. This user-friendly interface offers rule creation per the healthcare facility’s requirements and provides notifications, alerts, and prompts on any unauthorized movement. It acts as a reporting tool to help the administration manage patients and healthcare assets efficiently in critical times.
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