RFID Systems Beyond the Obstetrics Unit
- By Steven Elder
- Jun 01, 2010
Officials in emergency departments,
rehabilitation units and other parts of a
hospital know how to care for agitated
patients, who may be a risk to themselves
or to others. While these patients
represent a small minority, they consume
a disproportionate amount of time for
medical and security staff and can pose
a significant liability risk to the hospital.
Patient wandering is a main concern,
and those patients are at risk of serious
harm from becoming lost or wandering
into traffic. In the emergency department,
some may leave against medical advice.
One solution to help manage this
group of high-risk patients is the use of
RFID technology, the same successful
technology that protects newborns from
In a typical application, each patient
requiring protection wears a small RFID
tag on the wrist or ankle. These tags
send out signals that are picked up by a
network of receivers covering the department.
Exits from the department are protected
by exit monitors. An alarm is generated
if the patient approaches an exit or
removes the tag or if signals are lost.
A key difference between the systems
used for infants and for adults is the tag.
The adult tag is much more robust and designed
to withstand tugging without generating
a nuisance alarm. However, if the
tag is removed, an alarm is generated.
This RFID technology is well adapted
to adult patients because it is designed
to provide individual protection. In contrast
to general access control measures
that affect everyone, and may interfere
with the delivery of medical care, these
RFID technology efforts are tightly focused
on those few patients who really
Steven Elder is senior communications specialist for Stanley Healthcare Solutions.