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Applying RFID to Patient Care: Challenges and Opportunities

Applying RFID to Patient Care: Challenges and Opportunities
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Author(s): Andrea Cangialosi (Claremont Graduate University, USA), Joseph Monaly (California Institute of Technology, USA) and Samuel C. Yang (Yang, California State University, USA)
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 3
Source title: Managing Worldwide Operations and Communications with Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-929-8.ch241
ISBN13: 9781599049298
EISBN13: 9781466665378

Abstract

The application of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to patient care in hospitals and healthcare facilities has become more widely accepted in recent years. RFID and other wireless technologies are the next evolutionary step in patient/object/asset identification and tracking. RFID can potentially deliver many benefits to the healthcare industry. The appropriate application of RFID technologies can reduce many manual operations performed in patient care. When RFID is applied to existing workflow models of patient care, the number of manual steps involved in checking and processing patients can be reduced. RFID can automate the admitting, screening and treating processes for patients, enhance communications between caregivers and support teams, and reduce medical errors (Wicks, Visich, and Li, 2006). In addition, to reduce the number of medical errors, some hospitals have started to use RFID chips on wristbands that can be embedded with data and scanned with a reader to identify patients and what surgical procedure is needed (Hancox, 2006). However, despite the promised benefits, over 90% of the hospitals in the U.S. still have not adopted the technology (BearingPoint, 2006). As such, this paper examines the current information process used to process patients from admission to discharge, and then it considers where RFID can be applied in a hospital setting to improve patient care and hospital operations. Next the paper investigates the challenges associated with deploying RFID technology in a hospital environment. It is expected that the results of this study will be useful to hospital administrators contemplating RFID deployment in identifying challenges and opportunities.

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