Implementation of RFID in Health Care Services
Current paper describes research findings, as well as recommendations on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and their use in health care organizations. There is tremendous potential for the RFID systems to be utilized in the medical area in order to escalate patient attention and security and maximize facility effectiveness. However, currently only few hospitals use RFID systems and the ones that incline to do it utilize it only for few of its latent purposes rather than a full-scale of advantages it is capable to offer. The myriad of hospitals use available RFID systems that indicate tremendous benefits for most organizations. Management of entire medical providers must at least examine whether this technology can improve their particular facility (Ngai, 2010).
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the state of the art technology that utilizes electromagnetic fields devoted to a tag recognizing objects. These labels are utilized for product identification and product tracking. RFID is a developing tendency in the health care organization, driven by the higher emphasis on patient safety than it has ever been witnessed before. RFID technology helps ensure that all patients are treated accordingly and that they receive the services they need. Revere (2010) details two common kinds of RFID tags, passive and active. In this case, active tags are quite expensive since they have an interior power source and permit two-way movements of information, from the tag to the server and back. The active tags can convey over one hundred feet. On the other hand, passive tags are not so expensive but should be triggered by an external power source. They are smaller in range than the active tags, and only convey data from the RFID to the server.
The RFID has three fundamental uses in medical fields that include tracking equipment, tracking staff and tracking patients. Tracking relevant medical machines by means of the RFID systems in a hospital has tremendous benefits. Medical equipment that has been forgotten in the storage room is now tagged with the RFID and can be easily found when required. Hospitals are now capable of cutting the amount of fragments of equipment they need to maintain on the hand since each piece may be found when needed. Additionally, the amount of staff required to run hospitals for the misplaced or lost equipment may drop considerably, resulting in considerable payroll savings (Dash, 2009).
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In addition, the second benefit of using the RFID in a medical institution is to track and screen patients. At this point of the development, RFID is utilized to monitor and control patient’s place, document and control medication management, and monitor patient and staff communication time. Nonetheless, there is more that nay be done with an RFID to recover patient care. In future, it is predictable that hospitals would seek to stop falls by nursing patients as they set in and out of the bed. According to Horowitz (2010), current RFID systems would take things a step further and include facial identification software. This software can determine whether patients might be having stroke or feeling an excessive pain by analyzing their facial appearance. Furthermore, RFID can be utilized for dementia patients in the efforts of preventing them from itinerant off premises unseen. Billing in the hospitals is significantly founded on the link between patients and staff and the resultant services offered. RFID technology helps hospitals screen these links closely and bill them more precisely. Additionally, RFID can trail patient admission, transportation, and discharge. Such tracking permits the facility to increase bed space at all given moments. By trailing patients more carefully, hospitals can exploit billing and finally improve their net profit.
The final use of RFID in a hospital lies in monitoring and tracking of staff. Named as the “Nurse Nanny” by many, RFID systems help hospitals regulate personnel costs based on the clock time. Additionally, the system can track the amount of time staff is spending with their clients, versus doing the paperwork or any other non-patient association activity. From the quality-control point of view, this is essential information for the hospital to contain in order to contend most successfully with other health cares (Kroenke, 2011).
There are numerous researches that review potential uses of the RFID technology in medical environment. Research usually points to the efficiency that may be attained in the field of patient tracking and equipment. For instance, Revere (2010) discovered that the RFID clues to acquire in organization-wide quality improved patient-level accessibility and operational efficiency. Industries establishing RFID technology witness such results as efficient inventory organization, better asset monitoring, theft reduction, fewer errors, more precise point of sale and improvement of the real time communication. For security purpose, the Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has suggested that the Pharmaceutical industry should establish RFID tagging drugs to monitor and avert forging and terrorist delivery (Wicks, 2006).
There are many choices when it comes to following that may be confusing to potential patients. Dash (2009) differentiates between two critical systems, Real-Time Location Services (RTLS) and RFID. RFID is described as the documentation of a tagged person or object through the wireless communications strategy. It could be used to recognize a tagged client, locate and manage assets, hinder theft, and control or locate staff. RTLS offers the capability of tracking and locating objects or persons carrying out an RFID tab through a sequence of Wi-Fi networks access points in the real time. The real-time system can track the exact place of an object based on limited variables like the expected current or following location; with the appropriate technology, prior locations, an object may be watched moving down the corridors or across the city (Reyes, 2012).
Likewise, Barlow (2011) explains how supply chain operations in the health care sector can utilize the technology to improve and resolve their chasing and workflow issues. There is no solitary technology that could handle entire workflow and monitor problems in healthcare organizations. The situations require to be appraised to make sure the best method of technology is utilized. In most situations, the ideal explanation is the combination of RTLS, bar coding and RFID. For example, RTLS is expensive to utilize on medications; however, it is perfect for the real-time utilization in the patient safety and location (Najera, 2011).
Other researchers address the application problems that hospitals encounter when launching FID systems. Some of the application problems with the RFID in a hospital are similar to the problems encountered in other environments. The most significant problems are cost associated considerations like the tags cost, tags application, readers tag, development of software, and system protection (Barlow, 2010). Another critical issue is the significant quantity of dirty data that is produced by the use of RFID. According to Wicks (2006), health care organizations are encountered with confidentiality problems. For instance, there are doubts that third parties would access isolated patient information like drug use, diagnoses, therapy, and kinds of injuries.
Another benefit of RFID in the existing research is the cost and savings implications of the RFID in healthcare institutions. Based on the type of systems and actual use, the first installation, and on-going operation expenses can be exorbitant. Prices are a problem to the success of RFID implementation. However, as technology advances these systems turn to be more affordable. New competencies can pay for the typical systems in one or two years, with respect to vendors (Page, 2007). Investments comprise staff time expended searching for apparatus, equipment and inventory tracking, and prompted patient stream through the RFID monitoring. Page (2007) also highlights the savings linked with negligence prevention. For instance, there is the technology obtainable that offers small RFID tags for such things as the surgical sponges to avert parting them off during the surgery. Swedberg (2009) contends that there are higher cost competencies that can be associated with the RFID. The unexploited time spent looking for misplaced equipment and the expenditure of buying substitutes of material are major costs of health care institutions (Baldwin, 2010). He also highlights that when patients reach the casualty room, personnel may immediately find free beds and efficiently let the patient in for required treatment.
In conclusion, this paper denotes that the RFID is a state of the art expertise that utilizes electromagnetic grounds attached to the tags to track and identify objects. With respect to McGrady (2010), development of RFID in the medical organizations is expected to endure to escalate at 11-16% per year, determined by internal financial burden to escalate competitive advantages. This technology may escalate patient safety and treatment speed, and offer perfect follow-up for treatment. In addition, RFID may lower indirect and direct labor costs, and may reduce medical errors. The writer of this paper proposes that all hospitals should at least recognize the potential of executing RFID systems in their organizations. Each medical group must start by weighing costs versus the advantages of establishing such systems. At first, managers will get that whilst the initial establishment of the system is expensive, benefits will quickly overshadow the initial costs. Managers will understand that they are capable of cutting an extraordinary amount of staff members or responsibility hours through efficient time distribution, effectively maintaining fewer portions of equipment and strictly displaying staff links with patients.