by Robertus Oosterwijk, Marketing Executive.
With the ability to accurately and efficiently track documents, RFID (radio frequency identification) has become an essential tool for hospital management. By placing RFID tags on valuable assets and setting up the proper site-wide sensory infrastructure hospital staff can successfully locate said assets saving immense amounts of time and effort. This simple augmentation is the bedrock upon which other practical benefits of RFID tracking are realised.
1. Increased patient safety
Not being able to locate a patient’s health record can be a serious problem. It can cause dangerous delays to appointments and surgeries. Moreover, trying to recreate a patient’s missing health record can take hours of a doctor’s or nurse’s time and still leave risky gaps in the patient’s known medical history.
RFID reduces the chances of accident and risk to patients as tagged paper health records are never lost, no matter where in the hospital they may be laying. By setting up RFID infrastructure and placing tags on valuable paperwork you can successfully locate files within minutes, optimising the patient experience.
Not only can objects be tracked but people as well. A simple RFID bracelet and a sensor grid will allow hospitals to increase their service capacity by improving their patient throughput. Patient tracking can help caregivers work more efficiently by providing them with real time information on patients and updates about labs, orders and other notifications that are crucial to their workflow. More seriously, it can also prevent infant abduction and ensure that the correct patient receives the correct medication.
2. Cost effective asset management
According to research conducted in 2014, nurses are spending less than two hours of a 12 hour shift attending to patients directly. They otherwise spend the rest of their shift searching for missing equipment, hunting for supplies and tracking down medications. A large part of increasing organisational efficiency is ensuring that each employee’s time is used in the most productive way. RFID enables this by having equipment scanned in and out of their respective wards and tracked on screen. Results from current iFIT use shows us that RFID reduces search activities by 80%, saving millions of wasted hours with a single computer read-out, and reducing patient suffering by maximising the time nurses can spend at the bedside.
This type of asset management is not only limited to hospital machinery, mattresses and wheelchairs but can also be extended to drugs and perishables that will expire or be used up. Using RFID to monitor medicine boxes and supply cabinets ensures that they are neither depleted nor overstocked but replaced exactly on time. An NHS spending report released in June of this year stated that, “by making better use of staff, using medicines more effectively and getting better value from the huge number of products the NHS buys, billions a year could be saved by 2020.”
3. Facilitate conversion to EHR
RFID can play a significant cost-cutting role as a precursor to electronic health record conversion. Having an RFID solution such as iFIT in place prior means that all documents are already digitally indexed and easily located resulting in a sped up and pragmatic scanning programme with less overheads.
As a matter of fact a significant portion of the benefits of EHR – such as WTE and personnel savings, storage space savings, filing speed, document tracking, etc) are already achieved by RFID at a fraction of the cost and time. Additionally, contrary to what many believe, paper-based health records are not eliminated straight after the introduction of EHR. Many keep and update the hard copies as a matter of assurance.
These 3 reasons are just a selection of the numerous benefits responsible for the growing popularity of RFID technology among companies. In terms of hospital and clinical settings there’s already at least one marketplace option that is ready and proven, iFIT being the example. With its ability to identify tagged case notes, persons and objects individually from meters away, iFIT can assist in reducing labour costs, optimising supply retrieval and longevity, equipment localization and protection, infant protection, and the overall improvement of the patient experience.
Not sure where to start? Get to know more about the effectiveness of iFIT – visit the solutions page to learn more.
References - http://www.wsj.com/ and https://www.theguardian.com/