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RFID Technology Continues To Make Inroads In Healthcare

Go to any hospital or healthcare provider, and you’ll always see things moving -- staff, equipment, medicine and, most important of all, patients.

RFID has been recently touted as a technology to make health care a safer and more manageable environment. And AT&T has recently introduced a portfolio of products for the industry.

Using a Wi-Fi-enabled, location-based service, the company is offering everything needed to set up an RFID environment, including the devices, infrastructure and systems required for full-scale applications to track equipment, devices and patients.

"In the demanding healthcare environment, enhanced visibility and accuracy regarding the location of people and critical assets is crucial to providing optimal clinical care," said Brad Hunter, director of technology solutions for the American Hospital Association. "By introducing mobile technology such as RFID in the healthcare workplace, staff can save time, eliminate unnecessary costs, reduce theft and unnecessary inventory, and, most important, deliver better patient care."

With the system, hospital staff can track the current or historical location of mobile assets like blood pressure monitoring devices, EKG machines, gurneys, infusion pumps, crash carts, computers-on-wheels, wheelchairs and laptops from a Web browser.

The technology also can alert staff if at-risk patients have wandered or been moved from their rooms.

The system works by using RFID tags that send a wireless signal at regular intervals to keep the system up to date on its location. Synchronized alerts also provide information on location-based events, which can be immediately communicated to staff or other applications.

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior e-news/Web editor for Security Products and Network-Centric Security magazines.

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