If you thought that RFID tagging was only useful in industrial applications, think again.
As part of a pilot project at the Jacobi Medical Center in New York, Siemens Business Services has provided more than 200 patients with wristbands that carry a small embedded RFID device to enable their patient records to be accessed wherever they might be in the hospital.
The RFID chip itself contains a web address to a database on a central computer where information specific to each patient is stored. Once the address in the chip is scanned by an appropriate device, doctors can gain access to the database via a WLAN, from which they can then download all the information onto a PDA or tablet PC.
In addition to the wristband, Siemens is also developing a RFID watch that transmits information about a wearer’s location and heart frequency. To enable the position of a patient to be determined within two metres, numerous small antennae are to be set up throughout the medical centre.
In use, patients wear a sensor on their chests that measures their heartbeat. The information is then sent to the watch via a wireless network which transmits the heart data and the patient’s location to the doctor.
If the patient’s condition should worsen during a walk through the hospital, the medical personnel immediately know his or her location and can quickly take action. As a result, high-risk patients are always effectively under medical supervision, even when outside their hospital rooms.