Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips in Healthcare Settings

Washing Hands with SoapThe new healthcare reform requires hospitals to improve quality while reducing costs. As we know, there are advantages and disadvantages to converting older systems to new systems and old technology to new technology. The question is, how do we make our decision? How do we do it? Should it be measured solely by concrete measures such as return on investment (ROI) or break-even analysis (BE)? Or should it be measured by abstract measures such as customer satisfaction or the ease of mind for the patient?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there are 90,000 deaths each year from hospital-acquired infections (HAI). A big cause of this is from lack of hand hygiene by the medical staff when coming into contact with patients. Shannon Medical Center, a 400-bed hospital in San Angelo Texas decided to approach the hand hygiene compliance issue with technology.


Shannon teamed up with Proventix Systems to implement an automated radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based hand-hygiene monitoring system within their hospital.  The system requires RFID tags to be worn by the caregivers and the alcohol foam dispensers in the entrances and exits of the necessary halls and rooms. The system detects and records whether or not the caregiver used the alcohol foam dispenser, how many times it was used by the caregiver, when it was used by the caregiver, and the workflow of caregivers.


The answer of whether or not to implement new technology or systems comes from the value of the product or system. The value is determined by increasing/decreasing the variables of both the concrete and abstract measures. This is can be from considerations such as the demand for change, time constraints, the increase in benefits and how it is used, comparing alternatives, etc.






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