Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has become increasingly popular in healthcare settings for tracking and managing assets, supplies, and patients. RFID tags can help hospitals and clinics automate inventory management, reduce waste, improve patient safety, and enhance operational efficiency.
In this article, we will go in-depth regarding specific use cases for RFID in healthcare, detailing how hospitals and clinics can leverage this technology to track and manage critical resources and enhance patient care. RFID has many applications in the healthcare industry, from tracking medical equipment and supplies to monitoring patients’ movements. Learn more about how hospitals and clinics can use RFID to streamline their processes organization-wide below.
Keep Track of Sensitive Materials With RFID Technology
RFID technology is an effective solution for tracking sensitive materials in healthcare facilities. By using RFID tags, medical facilities can keep track of various items and resources, including:
Patients and Visitors
Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
Single-use Medical Supplies
1. Patients and Visitors
RFID technology makes it easy to track patients and visitors in healthcare facilities. Embedding RFID tags in patient wristbands helps hospitals keep track of their patients’ movements and locations within the facility. This allows healthcare providers to locate patients quickly and efficiently, improving the quality of care and patient safety.
Additionally, the RFID tag can hold all relevant data on the patient, ensuring that this information is easily accessible to hospital staff when needed. Using RFID-embedded wristbands, healthcare providers can ensure that patients receive the best care possible while maintaining a safe environment.
2. Patient Belongings
Hospitals can also use RFID technology to keep track of patient belongings in healthcare facilities. If a patient is expected to stay for an extended period of time, RFID tags can be assigned to their personal belongings or bag. This allows the facility to locate the patient’s personal property at all times, reducing the risk of left or loss.
When it is time to return the property to the patient, hospital personnel can easily identify the belongings and their location, ensuring that everything is promptly returned. Afterward, the RFID tag can be reassigned to a new patient’s belongings or stored for later use.
3. Hospital Personnel
Hospital management can use RFID to track staff and improve their workflows. Recently, clinics have implemented active RFID in Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) to identify bottlenecks and other issues. By using RFID tags on personnel, hospitals can identify where problems arise and make improvements to move patients in and out more efficiently.
Hospital employees wear RFID badges that identify how long they have been in specific areas, and this data is then reported to the management team.
4. Medical Records
Passive RFID systems like RFID wristbands help hospitals and other healthcare facilities maintain and verify patient records. Patient data is printed on the bands, while digital data records are stored on the embedded RFID chip.
Using a passive RFID system can help staff quickly identify patients and their conditions during emergencies. These systems also help ensure that patients are not given the wrong medications or exposed to any allergens.
5. Drugs and Pharmaceuticals
One of the most prominent uses for RFID technology in healthcare settings is tracking drugs and pharmaceuticals. Drugs are expensive and controlled commodities, putting them at a higher risk of being stolen or misused.
For healthcare professionals, this could result in disaster if a patient does not have access to the necessary medicine during an emergency. It could also result in additional expenses for the hospital if they have to replenish their inventory.
RFID tags can help medical facilities keep a consistent count of their controlled substances and store information about expiration dates, dosage, and other relevant information that could be life-saving in an emergency.
6. Surgical Tools
In healthcare facilities, RFID technology can also track surgical tools, such as scalpels, scissors, clamps, and retractors. These tools are essential for surgeries, and keeping track of them using RFID tags ensures that the right equipment is available and ready for use.
Not having the proper surgical equipment available or accidentally using equipment that has not been properly disinfected, can create a dangerous situation for the patient receiving surgery. By tracking these items with RFID tags, surgeons and other staff members can verify if the tools are clean, disinfected, and optimal for use.
Additionally, certain on-metal RFID tags can be embedded in surgical equipment and endure the cleaning process in the autoclave, further streamlining the process of tracking and managing surgical tools.
7. Heavy Equipment
Throughout the healthcare industry, heavy equipment such as hospital beds and portable testing machines are valuable items that are essential to providing quality patient care. However, these items can occasionally go missing, and replacing them can be expensive. To prevent these situations, RFID tracking technology is essential.
In many scenarios, heavy assets are not readily available and would take time to ship, assemble, and replace. Hospitals can keep track of these assets within the facility and prevent unnecessary expenses by using an RFID facilities management system. Many facilities use active RFID with real-time location systems on their high-value equipment and assets to know where they are at all times.
8. Single-Use Medical Supplies
Single-use medical supplies such as gauze, disposable gloves, syringes, and boxes of depressors are commonplace in medical facilities. These items are relatively inexpensive compared to testing machinery and other hospital equipment, and hospitals often have them in abundance.
However, keeping track of these items using manual data entry methods can be challenging due to their large quantities. Therefore, RFID tags can provide a cost-effective solution for keeping track of these single-use items.
RFID tags ensure that inventory is fully accounted for and well-stocked for the facility’s needs. RFID can assist healthcare providers in reducing unnecessary waste and preventing the theft of these items. Attaching RFID tags to each item can make it easier for healthcare providers to track and monitor their usage.
Healthcare facilities also rely on RFID to track laundry items. Hospitals and clinics use towels, patient gowns, PPE, and other laundry items daily to provide patients with clean and comfortable conditions. Each piece of fabric and laundry must be washed and disinfected before being given to a patient to prevent the spread of infection.
With RFID technology, hospitals can keep track of the number of laundry items in use, which ones need to be changed, and which ones are cleaned and ready for use. This technology allows workers to gather, organize, clean, and distribute laundry items more efficiently and effectively.
Using RFID tags on laundry items can reduce the risk of contamination, prevent loss or theft, and ensure that patients have access to clean laundry at all times.
How Pycube Can Help
Pycube’s RFID asset tracking solutions can help healthcare facilities efficiently manage and track various hospital assets, including patient belongings, surgical tools, heavy equipment, and laundry items. Implementing RFID technology helps hospitals ensure patient safety, reduce costs, and improve workflow efficiency.
With Pycube’s solutions, you can track the movement of vital medical equipment and use the data to improve inventory management processes. Contact us to learn more about our solutions and how we can help your facility. Get started today and experience the benefits of RFID asset tracking.