Radio Frequency Identification Technologies and Issues in Healthcare

Radio Frequency Identification Technologies and Issues in Healthcare

Amber A. Smith-Ditizio (Texas Woman's University, USA) and Alan D. Smith (Robert Morris University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch515
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Abstract

One of the most compelling cases for RFID-embedded technologies in the healthcare field has been made by documenting increased efficiency in supply chain performance measurements, which generally consist of financial and non-financial indicators. The following chapter suggests that patient flows and safety are key measures of hospital operation efficiency. Process bottlenecks in hospitals can delay discharge times, and lead to higher costs and lower quality of service, which in turn affects the overall performance and business of the hospital. Hospitals have struggled to control costs, and RFID-embedded technologies should allow management to prioritize their technology spending and reduce total cost of suppliers and operational expenses.
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Introduction

Barcodes and related identification technologies have been used to control inventory and supply chain management (SCM) for some time, especially in retail and purchasing applications (Aldaihani & Darwish, 2013; Azadeh, Gholizadeh, & Jeihoonian, 2013; Bhamu, Khandelwal, & Sangwan, 2013). Barcoding equipment is fairly inexpensive and easy to use as compared to other AIDC technologies (Smith, 2011; Smith, Smith, & Baker, 2011; Smith & Rupp, 2013; Visich, Li, Khumawala, & Reyes, (2009; Wilson, 1995; Wyld, (2006). However, certain limitations create the need for a new approach to increase efficiency (Drejer & Riis, 2000; Dutta, Lee, & Whang, 2007; Fisher & Monahan, 2008; Fumi, Scarabotti, & Schiraldi, 2013). Barcodes are only accurate if items are continuously scanned in and out as they move along the supply system. An employee must ensure an item is scanned at each stage, or entry and exit point. An example of this would be a delivery driver that scans packages as a truck is loaded and scans the package at the delivery point. If the package is not scanned, the action is not accurately recorded. Barcodes require an employee to physically inspect the item for scanning purposes to ensure inventory accuracy and determine the product’s location, while Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) conveniently tracks products through radio waves, designed to improve operational efficiency.

RFID technologies helped Walmart to control its inventory and track product movements along its supply chain (Tarofdor, Marthandan, Mohan & Tarofdor, 2013). Furthermore, RFID has been used in the identification of stray pets, which is known as chipping and in transportation, in addition to sports. Experimentation with RFID in soccer may soon allow a visually impaired player to participate in the game by integration of computers and video cameras, along with an active RFID tag to signal to the player through a set of audio headphones (Zare, McMullen & McCune, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Supply Chain Management/Performance: In basic terms, supply chain is the system of organizations, people, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. The configuration and management of supply chain operations is a key way companies obtain and maintain a competitive advantage.

Healthcare Service Strategies: When it comes to the healthcare industry, an overall strategic goal is to provide affordable coverage and quality service to all citizens that need such services at affordable costs.

Barcoding Technology: A long-term and very reliable type of AIDC technology, it is known for its very accurate and economical approaches to identity products and machine readable information from a variety of manufactured goods and services. Most barcodes use a type of standardized bars and spacing coding or symbology that is certified by an international standards body (GS1 System).

Vendor-Managed Inventory Systems (VMI): VMI-based systems are designed to transfer the control of inventory and its planning activities to a manufacturer or distributor in order to provide a beneficial relationship to promote a more transparent and seamless flow of goods and services at lower costs.

Ethical Dilemmas: There are a number of ethical theories that are appropriate for dealing with healthcare issues concerning automatic identification. These theories involve both individual and group behaviors that are grounded in moral philosophy, especially in the concepts of consequentialism or deontology ethical philosophy.

RFID-Embedded Technologies: RFID technologies are types of automatic data capture techniques that use a combination of active and passive senders and receivers to collect and store codified information for further uses.

Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technologies (AIDC): Types of AIDC-related technologies to leave the human element out of the data collection and storage functions of information derived from manufacturing, integrated through the manufacturing process, types of authentication concerns and/or e-security strategies, and relationship links to customer profiles.

Virtual Asset Trackers (VAT): VAT is a type of application of active RFID tagging that allows healthcare practitioners to enhance security to patients, residents, and hospital staff while providing better patient and resident-care services.

Operations Efficiency: Improving efficiency and reducing waste is a major challenge for hospitals and other patient care facilities looking to lower the cost of providing healthcare services.

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