Magazine Article | August 1, 2004

RFID Labels Increase Efficiency In Hospital ERs

Source: Business Solutions Magazine
Business Solutions, August 2004

Emergent (Jackson, MS) was looking for a new solution to a traditional emergency room (ER) problem: how to move patients through the various stations of the ER more quickly while minimizing administrative duties.

The company, which performs ER management services for hospitals, turned to software developer

C. Pitman Baker & Associates, Inc. (CPB) (Irving, TX). CPB developed a data collection system using Texas Instruments Radio Frequency Identification (TI-RFid) Systems RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and Intermec (Everett, WA) 1800VT scanners to monitor the progress of patients through the ER. The system allows managers at Emergent to make important staffing decisions and adjustments to ER procedures.

RFID Tags Reduce Paperwork For ER Staff
In the RFID tag system, an ER employee tags a new patient's chart with a 13.56 Mhz smart label that will stay with the patient from admissions through the X-ray room and beyond. In the two-step registration process, an RFID-tagged chart is programmed with the patient's name, and a computer record indicating the time the patient entered the ER is generated.

As the patient moves through the ER stations, hospital staff place the chart in RFID-enabled bins attached to the door of each station, and a place, date and time stamp is added to the patient's online record at each station. To eliminate bottlenecks in the ER, an alarm sounds at the nurse's monitoring station if a patient remains at a station beyond a specified length of time.

When a patient reaches the final station, the RFID tag is scanned, and the patient's record is updated as discharged. The tag is then assigned to the next patient. Employees no longer have to maintain paper files on patients as they move through the ER. Instead, patient information is updated in the department's computer database when the RFID tags are scanned. With the RFID system, Emergent can manage staffing assignments and efficiently move patients through the ER.