Implementing RFID Technology in Hospital Environments

Implementing RFID Technology in Hospital Environments

Marlyn Kemper Littman (Nova Southeastern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-960-1.ch049
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A promising approach for facilitating cost containment and reducing the need for complex manual processes in the healthcare space, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology enables data transport via radio waves to support the automatic detection, monitoring, and electronic tracking of objects ranging from physicians, nurses, patients, and clinical staff to walkers, wheelchairs, syringes, heart valves, laboratory samples, stents, intravenous pumps, catheters, test tubes, and surgical instruments (Karthikeyan & Nesterenko, 2005). RFID implementations streamline hospital applications and work in concert with WLANs (wireless local area networks) and mobile devices such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). RFID technology also safeguards the integrity of the drug supply by automatically tracing the movement of medications from the manufacturer to the hospital patient. This article begins with a discussion of RFID development and RFID technical fundamentals. In the sections that follow, the work of standards organizations in the RFID space is introduced, and capabilities of RFID solutions in reducing costs and improving the quality of healthcare are described. Descriptions of RFID initiatives and security and privacy challenges associated with RFID initiatives are explored. Finally, trends in the use of RFID-augmented wireless sensor networks (WSNs) in the healthcare sector are introduced.

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