The usage of RFID is at its peak now and has been successful in various industries like retail, manufacturing, and logistics. Though it is not a new technology it has developed rapidly. Nowadays, it is known as a powerful technology for businesses in data collection, tracking location, and movement of assets.
There is also much usage in sectors such as supply chain management, inventory control, and e-Passports. Besides this, it is also used to track prisoners and also keep track of animals by farmers.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) works on a tag system. A tag is attached to an item and with the help of radio waves, it is tracked.
A special tag is attached to an item and radio waves track that tag. RFID is divided into three parts - Reader, Antenna, and Transponder.
The antenna helps to convey radio-frequency signals creating a way of communication with the tag. Once the tag passes through the frequency field, it identifies the activation signal and stores the data.
This is somewhat similar to Barcode technology. But the main difference is that RFID works faster as compared to the Barcode scanner. The other thing is that scanning a product is necessary via scanner for the information but RFID uses radio waves for tracking the product data.
RFID Technology in Healthcare Industry
It can be used for many objectives.
1- Patient Tracking and History Records: The band with RFID is tied around the wrist of a patient. It helps in keeping the track of the patient as it has all the relevant data such as name, medical record, allergies, etc.
A long-time patient’s history and allergy to medicines can be easily known to the doctors. This record also assists in surgery by providing crucial information.
2- Equipment Tracking :Machines, equipment, and vehicles can be tracked easily in hospitals. With this one can be aware of the location of the vehicles, equipment, etc., and also it enables asset maintenance.
Hospital assets are important and should be always in ready-to-use mode. RFID tags track assets even as they move inside or outside.
For Operation Theatres, the inspection of assets is necessary so that unplanned breakdowns are avoided. RFID technology in healthcare provides a great help in this condition.
Indigenous Mobile Hospital (BHISHM) Deployed at Shri Ayodhya Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha uses RFID
On January 22, 2024, India marked the revival and reclamation of the Hindu Heritage site at Ayodhya with the grand consecration ceremony of Shri Ram Temple. With thousands of devotees visiting for the event, the administration deployed the Indigenous Mobile Hospital (BHISHM) to provide rapid response emergency services.
BHISHM, which is short for Bharat Health Initiative for Sahyog, Hita, and Maitri, is an initiative by the Arogya Ministry, that features a smart aid cube that can be deployed within 12 minutes and can provide emergency relief services to approx. 200 causalities. The state-of-the-art technology leverages IoT, RFID, and AI technologies to facilitate quick data collection on usage, deployment, and expiry and to ensure readiness.
The use of RFID technology to track items and their utilization enables seamless emergency response, bridging the gap between primary and definitive care in case of emergencies. The smart AID Cube is easily transportable and provides unmatched flexibility.
3- Medicine and Pharmaceutical Tracking
Asset tracking can handle the area of pharmaceuticals in the hospitals. The system gets the expiry date of medicines and also checks their stock levels. This also enables you to track easily the current stock.
Pharmaceuticals and medicines are the most critical items and every hospital must keep a stock of essential medicines. Also other things such as vaccines and products used in surgeries like masks, syringes, gloves, etc.
Medicines and surgical equipment are expensive so healthcare establishments must keep stock as well as track of these items.
RFID Asset Management in Hospitals
For knowing how asset management can help the Healthcare sector, it is necessary to understand what asset management is.
Asset Management helps in operating, maintaining, monitoring, and disposing of assets. It includes measuring expenses, risks, and performance metrics also. It also has asset life cycle management that has commissioning, operating, repairing, and decommissioning of physical assets.
Asset Tagging for Check-in Check-out Process
For more effective activity, RFID technology in healthcare should be utilized for asset tagging and tracking. For example, serial numbers must be used not like before. A duplicate serial number provides an error. When equipment is tagged, it is easy to track usage and will be helpful in enabling all the information via the Check-in Check-out software process.
Use Analytics to Make Effective Decisions
The software collects all the information and provides analytics. With the more correct information, you can go for better decision-making.
The software also provides real-time tracking. So the inventory is updated regularly and you can have exact inventory counts. Also, you can track inventory orders and trigger automatic re-orders when stocks are low. If the products have not reached their destination, the system activates alerts.
RFID has great potential to assist medical services. Also, the system creates new ways for enhanced security, operational effectiveness, and cost savings by tagging stocks, assets, patient data, and personnel records.