Monday, July 16, 2012

Creative Uses of Active RFID

BIDMC implemented enterprise-wide Active RFID asset tracking over 5 years ago.

Initially this was done to reduce theft of wheelchairs, optimize the use of high inventory multi-departmental equipment such as ventilators/ekg machines/iv pumps, and reduce the time searching for devices in the emergency department.  

Over the years, we've deployed thousands of tags and enabled tracking over 2 million square feet of BIDMC buildings.

My staff recently reviewed the utilization of Active RFID technologies to understand how broadly they have been adopted.

Their conclusion - the technology is highly functional, frequently used, and effective.

A few examples:

Radiology tracks lead aprons for JCAHO compliance.

The Emergency Department is using a temperature sensing RFID tag to monitor a refrigerator for JCAHO compliance.

Currently, there are 201 active users of the management software which enables viewing of tracked assets.
Clinical staff relies on that software to locate equipment with limited quantity and high demand - dialysis machines, scanners, and Arctic Sun temperature management systems.

Clinical Engineering continues to use RFID for locating equipment due for preventative maintenance.

As our wireless network has evolved, we've upgraded our access points and geolocation software.  At this point we provide highly accurate location services based on triangulating wifi signal strength.

As with many technologies that are robust and easy to implement, the creative possibilities for geolocation are numerous.   The examples above are just a few of the ways in which we're using the technology to improve quality, safety and efficiency.


Anonymous said...

Could we use this to find missing physicians?

Jean said...

Does your WiFi system locate to room-level or is it only by zone? I've heard that Wi-Fi has bleed-through problems and knowing the exact location of assets or people can be hit-or-miss. I've also heard that having to recalibrate often can be a pain. Any truth?

I would also be curious to know if you've considered using your RFID system for use in tracking patients and/or staff, or using it to implement a patient flow strategy.

Kevin Groff said...

Which system did you ultimately implement? We were looking at using Sonitor (ultrasound technology) because at the time, it was the only technology that could do 3 dimensions (e.g falling out of a bed) and it did not interfere with any hospital equipment. The drawback was a new, separate infrastructure.