RFID Technologies in Healthcare Setting: Applications and Future Perspectives

RFID Technologies in Healthcare Setting: Applications and Future Perspectives

Alessia D'Andrea (Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies (IRPPS), Rome, Italy), Fernando Ferri (Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies (IRPPS), Rome, Italy) and Patrizia Grifoni (Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies (IRPPS), Rome, Italy)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJCCP.2016010102
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Abstract

The paper discusses the use of RFID technologies in healthcare setting examining the status of applications and prospective views. The authors have identified two classes of applications of RFID technologies in healthcare setting: people monitoring/management and items/assets management applications. While for the perspective views it is provided their classification in: future scenarios, emerging applications and needs. Moreover, a discussion on components, development, key strengths and critical issues affecting the RFID usage in healthcare setting is given in the paper.
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1. Introduction

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a widely used technology based on radio frequency electromagnetic fields to obtain data for tracking and identifying people, products and goods. It found a strong interest and use in healthcare setting where the increased attention to patients’ assistance and health has stimulated its development and use (RFID Journal, 2012). At the begnning this was mainly connected with the serious problems of the healthcare sector in the management of resources for disease prevention, and the costs of healthcare that represent an always existing problem (Correa et al., 2005). The RFID technologies contribute in changing this scenario since they are leading to an increased accessibility for healthcare providers, more efficient tasks and processes management and a higher quality of healthcare services using limited human resources. Many are the applications of RFID technologies in healthcare; they can be used for physical asset management (Kwok, S. et al., 2008), inventory management (Choy, K. et al., 2007), supply chain management (Park, K. et al., 2010), production (Kwok, S. and Wu, S., 2009) etc. In all these applications, RFID technologies have the potential to transform healthcare services by enhancing the quality of care, improving patient safety, reducing medical errors, saving costs and overall contributing to the quality of care delivered to patients. However despite these key strengths, the applications of RFID technologies in healthcare setting raises also important issues in particular connected with privacy and security. For example, patients might be concerned about their privacy when hospital staff tracks their whereabouts through RFID. Moreover when RFID technologies are used as means of identification, illegal copying of tags can pose security threats. The data security law states that people related data can only be collected and handled if the person has granted permission or by order of court. Moreover, other issues are connected with the high upfront costs, technological limitations, social and legal issues etc. However despite these critical issues the developments in RFID technologies continues to yield wider reading ranges, larger memory capacities and faster processing. In the future, RFID technologies will contribute to further improve the efficiency of drug inventory and medical device management within the hospital supply chain. (Kaur & Kaur (2012).

Starting from these considerations, the paper discusses the applications of RFID in healthcare setting and their perspective views. Moreover components, development, key strengths and critical issues affecting the RFID usage are discussed in the paper.

The paper is structured as follow. Section 2 provides open challenges and describes the motivation of the study. Section 3 briefly describes the components of RFID technologies. Section 4 discusses applications of RFID technologies in healthcare setting. In Section 5 a discussion is given. Section 6 provides a discussion on perspective views of RFID in healthcare setting. Finally, Section 7 concludes the paper.

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