What are the benefits of using RFID in healthcare?
- Improved Patient Safety
- Efficient Inventory Management
- Better Quality Control
- Effective Personnel Workflows
As RFID technology becomes more and more prevalent in industries all around the world, the medical field itself has begun to adopt this tech into its processes. These new advancements enable medical service providers to become more effective and efficient.
There are numerous benefits of RFID in healthcare systems — from superior management, improved safety, to inventory processing — and this technology continues to pave the way towards the future for this industry.
Improved Patient Safety
RFID chips can be put into patient wristbands and can be used to store information relevant to the patient. This data can be medical history, prescribed medication, meal scheduling, operation scheduling, and more. All of this can be accessed with one scan, which makes the consolidation and retrieval of information much more efficient for nurses and doctors alike.
This technology can also be embedded in prosthetics and other devices used for replacement surgeries. This keeps track of all the moving parts of the surgery, reducing human error and the probability of infection during the procedure. This tool can also be used to monitor the hand hygiene of hospital staff to control possible contaminations.
RFID can also be used to improve infant safety. Using the same technology for wristbands used for other patients, infants and newborns can also be monitored in the same manner. Utilizing RFID’s tracking capabilities helps medical personnel keep track of them real-time, and also prevent unauthorized removals.
When infants are removed from their crib, nursery, or NICU, hospital staff can be alerted via message, or it can trigger a hospital-wide warning. Some systems can also automatically lock doors in this event to prevent removal and allow staff to locate the infant with ease.
RFID can also help with managing patients and their locations. Using RFID software and equipment, you can control which patients come into contact with each other. This is done through tracking functions, screening functions, and even locking wards to prevent contagious infections.
Efficient Inventory Management
RFID can also be applied to inventory and asset control. This application helps medical facilities log all their equipment, devices, and other inventory on their system and track their usage. This can also be used to predict future demand for the facility, and help them make sure they have enough supplies for everyone’s medical needs.
This application can be used in scheduling and monitoring the use of certain equipment, which helps save time when planning for certain procedures (e.g. diagnostic medical imaging equipment, like an ultrasound machine). Even the use of smaller equipment like bedpans, syringes, and the like is made more efficient through RFID.
It can also be utilized to manage medical supplies in the facility. This is important with prescription drugs, as these are controlled substances. These supplies can be ordered, sorted, and tracked via RFID tags. This ensures more reliable supply flows for both staff and patients.
Better Quality Control
Quality control is integral for hospital services. All equipment and supplies need to meet a certain quality standard to best serve the patient’s medical needs. RFID technology can ensure that these standards are met by providing staff with accurate information, which they can then use to make the correct decisions regarding their materials.
For example, one new use of this tracking capability is in organ donor processes. Some facilities use RFID tags to record information on the deceased donor, which is accessible to the doctors performing transplants. Using this information, the specialist can better determine the viability of the organs before proceeding with transplant surgery.
RFID tags can also log temperature and humidity conditions in hospital storage rooms. These can affect the usability of vaccines, medication, tissue samples, and more. Too hot or too humid, and these materials can be rendered useless.
However, if temperature or humidity moves out of the established range, RFID software can notify medical personnel of the issue, allowing them to solve it before it causes irreparable damage.
Effective Personnel Workflows
RFID tags can also be used to keep an eye on the movement of personnel around the facility. This technology can be integrated with and communicate data to workflow software. This information is compiled into data and shows real-time assessments of what other personnel are doing, and where some processes may be less efficient.
For example, nurses can take a quick look at their monitors and see that preoperative preparation is taking longer than 30 minutes for one patient. From this, they know that they are falling behind schedule, and can call for assistance from other staff to make the preparation more efficient.
This software can also send alerts to staff to provide other workflow information. One common application is to notify when operating rooms need to be cleaned and prepped, or if the emergency room is filling up and they need more hands to address a patient’s medical concerns.
Another noteworthy example of how RFID can improve personnel management can be seen in surgery rooms. Nurses, using a tagging system, can now track and count the needed surgical instruments digitally. This frees them from the need to physically count equipment, which allows them to focus on other areas and assist surgeons better.
There are several benefits of using RFID in healthcare processes. It is unsurprising that this industry is becoming more and more invested in this technology, and is looking for the appropriate software solutions to integrate into their facilities.
With the ever-increasing capabilities of RFID, it becomes more crucial than ever to add this solution to your business. With the right software, you can keep up with technological trends and keep your business at the forefront of your chosen field. Get in touch with ELID to start integrating RFID in your facilities today!