Active RFID vendor SecuriCode was written up in Wireless Healthcare-News today. This U.K. based vendor includes health care as one of a number of vertical markets they go after. The following list of potential RFID applications shows they've done some homework. I have added the tag [software] to bullets below that would require tight integration with other software (beyond the RTLS positioning engine) to provide a reasonable workflow.

  • Can identify and locate nurses, doctors and other skilled staff together with patients and medical equipment ensuring patient charters can easily be met and staff and emergency equipment are in the right place in life-threatening situations. [software - some positioning engines can manage associations like these, but another application would be required to integrate the information into workflow at the point of care]
  • Will not compromise the safety of staff by alerting non-staff of their whereabouts and protects staff from loss or theft of identity.
  • Offers ‘hands-free’ Access Control and non-intrusive operation. Staff go about their daily duties without having to overtly concern themselves about security. · Can prevent unauthorised use of equipment to ensure appropriately trained staff operate sophisticated equipment, view patient record systems or gain access to medical and drug supplies.
  • Can automatically track patients or available beds and determine their location.
  • Can act as a theft deterrent (by disabling equipment) and sound alarms if equipment is removed from the premises by unauthorised persons.
  • Available with automatic time and attendance reporting which can update staff roster systems in real-time ensuring appropriate departments are staffed correctly and staff shortages can easily be identified. [software]
  • Operates with exiting wired or wireless networks in-premises and will not track staff off-premises. Maintaining off duty employee privacy
  • Could be used to automatically identify patients to doctors and specialists so that accurate medical records can be viewed. [software]

I've mentioned before (here) how RFID itself is not a product, and SecuriCode's list of health care related features bears this out. Asset tracking by itself, can deliver an attractive ROI, but it's dangerous to assume that an RFID system purchased for more generic purposes (asset tracking, theft deterrent, and access control) will also deliver equally good solutions that require tighter integration with other information systems.

SecuriCode's system is active, and operates in the 2.4 GHz band. The system requires dedicated readers that can be connected via Ethernet or WiFi. Tags can be read from as far away as 10 meters. The tags incorporate motion detection, battery monitoring, and the tag/reader communications protocol uses collision detection. Security features include encrypted data transmission, tag authentication, and automatically expire if lost or stolen. The tags don't continuously poll and can’t be monitored or cloned. Tags can optionally incorporate monitored inputs, alerts and anti-tamper alarms.