Patient tracking is a key challenge in responding to mass casualty situations, as described in this press release. (Emphasis mine.)
in mass casualties, hospitals are confronted with simultaneously treating
hundreds of patients with varying degrees of injuries. To meet the challenge
of managing patients, checking the availability of doctors and locating open
beds and medical equipment in wide-scale emergency, Nagoya Ekisaikai Hospital
in Japan has deployed and successfully tested the Real Time Location System
(RTLS) from Ekahau Inc. "When disasters strike, it is vital that hospitals quickly
find irreplaceable medical staff and patients needing urgent treatments,"
said Shigehiro Mochizuki, president of IBS Japan [an Ekahau-certified value added
reseller and systems integrator in Japan]. "The success of this
simulation using Ekahau's location tracking system in conjunction with the
hospital's existing patient databases will allow the hospital to vastly
improve patient and staff tracking, which is lacking in the most of the
systems presently available."
The Ekahau real time location system (RTLS) apparently performed well, providing location accuracy between 3 and 5 meters. What caught my attention was that last bit about working "in conjunction" with other software. This of course is the real rub in RFID deployments in hospitals (beyond simple asset tracking). Most tracking or indoor positioning applications in hospitals require integration with specialized applications to deliver their full value. This systems integration is a key factor in RFID vendor selection.