The unprecedented pandemic of our times, SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 has been giving us unforeseen challenges across the globe, 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 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 Guidelines
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 and Staff Locations and Status
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 for 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 and Patients
The hospital or the designated area can be virtually divided into zones through geo-mapping and can alert the administration when there’s trespassing or more than the permitted capacity of personnel in close proximity to 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.
Maintaining and Protecting Healthcare Supply Chains
This technology not only enhances the visibility and monitoring of assets, but also 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 that are embedded with RFID tags. Listed below are examples of healthcare items that can be tracked and monitored using RFID technology:
- Healthcare Devices: Tagging the healthcare devices such patient monitoring systems, ventilators, etc. are with pre-encoded RFID tags help in monitoring the movement of these devices among non-critical and critical wards, COVID in the current situation.
- Hospital Laundry: Making sure hospital laundry, such as patient bedding, is sterile is of utmost importance to healthcare facilities at all times, especially to prevent the spread of highly infectious diseases like COVID-19. RFID tags for tracking laundry and linens have an incredibly positive impact on management effectiveness and the people directly involved.
- Stock Inventory: It can be crucial to monitor stock levels in real-time and to track information about the way in which food or other goods were handled and transported, especially during the pandemic. This scanning can provide additional information like where it came from and if the item has been touched by other employees and how often.
- Surgical Supplies: An RFID system has proven to be a fool-proof method of both counting and detecting critical surgical assets like equipment and consumables. It helps the administration to efficiently manage the critical inventory. It also healthcare professionals to detect and count the above, ensuring that “Nothing Left Behind.”
Enabling Safe Sterilization of Tagged Hospital 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 quick turnaround time and has been the principal method of sterilization since the introduction of single-use medical devices.
Providing a User-Friendly System to Quickly Track Data
The RFID application software system and the middle-ware forms the backbone of the real-time patient and asset tracking system. This user-friendly interface offers rule creation as per the healthcare facilities 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.
Backed by 40 Years of Expertise
We contribute our 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise spanning multiple diverse markets, and we look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for the healthcare industry. As an ISO 13485 certified electronics manufacturing company, Syrma is helping traditional medical device OEMs and the healthcare industry to bridge their technology gaps with our strong expertise in the electronics design and manufacturing space.
Over the years, we’ve worked with many global companies for designing and manufacturing various medical devices and applications. Since 1990, our group has provided full-scale custom RFID design and production services. Today our RFID products are used by more than 200 customers for various applications.
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