RFID in health care- Types, Benefits, and Barriers

RFID is a technology that utilizes radio waves for the collection of data and transfer. The increasing implementation of the radio frequency identification technology shows that RFID is one of the most favorable assets in the healthcare sector. As we know that many are utilizing RFID in healthcare to a full extent.

Types of RFID in healthcare

  • Passive RFID- This is one of the most inexpensive ones. It uses simple and battery-free tags. Readers provide a low-pitched frequency; this transmits a good amount of energy and picks up the radio waves through a huge force. The given tag is then transmitted to it in a different frequency. This event does not require energy sources and is forever lasting. 
  • Active RFID- These tags are active as the tags start the connections by continuously transmitting the signals. It tells you the location of the tag in real-time. It is also more expensive than passive RFID. For deployment, these require less infrastructure which makes it an ideal option for hospitals. 
  • Intelligent RFID- This involves cloud technology. The raw location data is sent to the cloud, and then it runs on those readings of the data. Data transmitted safeguards power. These aid low-latency applications and are entirely connected.  

Advantages of RFID in healthcare

  • Cost and labor reduction- When the radio frequency identification is applied properly then It can even help to remove a large workforce and help to decrease the time taking task. In short, a systematized RFID can help to reduce the number of people as well as the time required. 
  • Inventory organizations- The RFID system in healthcare helps to keep track of people and stock in real-time. Especially, healthcare suppliers gives an exact insight. For example, the given item can be easily tracked and logged into EHR. In this way, it will prevent the item from expiring, risks, etc. 
  • Acts as a safeguard for patients- This also safeguard students from various kind of risks and diseases. Hospitals and healthcare centers use it in many ways, but the easiest way is to use the RFID chips embedded in wristbands or watches. In this way, the procedure of scheduling the patient’s food and medicine intake cycle. It also helps to trace the contacts, even contact tracing, RFID wearables can screen the contacts and reduce the chances of being affected. 
  • Staff tracking- As healthcare centers have very big management, it is difficult to keep an eye on everyone, in this, RFID chips come into play. It helps to track the staff in real-time like supervising the availability of staff, monitoring the hygiene standards, quality of work. These standards can be improved with the help of a good workflow and can support efficient management in healthcare. 

Data controlling approaches for RFID system

Technology has modified our lives in different ways. When RFID tech is used in a good and appropriate way then it can help to provide effective knowledge for the present as well as future. This is used for versatile purposes in the healthcare sector.

It helps in the collection of data of hospital staff, patients, and inventory. The data comes from different sources such as tags, equipment, wearables, etc. Sometimes, things get worse due to the inappropriate management of the data. The question may arise that, 

How can we get clean data from the RFID system? 

During the daily interactions between the staff and the hospital, regular data is recorded. As a result, this leads to the unorganized data left with the experts of the hospital. Checking the organized data manually will be a very time-consuming task and in case of any mistake, the data will have no value. 

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The entire procedure of analysis must be automated. For making the data accessible, all the raw information from the varied RFID tags must be transmitted to a single place. And, then it should be formatted and filtered as per the data. Once the second procedure is done, the observers and decision-makers can visualize it and easily consume the data. 

RFID chip

Barriers of the RFID system

  • One of the biggest barriers is the cost system and ROI that is the return on investment. As the price of tags differs based on their capabilities from costing few cents to even $50. 
  • The software of the RFID is not standardized yet. Therefore, it poses trouble and concern across the healthcare organization. 
  • Many researchers observed safety and privacy issues in the implementation of RFID in heatlcare, such as intentional misuse, disclosure of healthcare information, inappropriate collection of data, etc. 

Furthermore, there are many barriers in this, but there are recommendations that can improve the RFID system to the fullest-  

  • For solving the cost concerns, one should look over the impact of which RFID system economically. 
  • Before the technical implementation widely in the healthcare sector, testing of the technology must be done to minimize the risk. 
  • Before adopting safety measures, it is advisable to spread awareness about storing the data, potential privacy, etc. 

FAQS

RFID is quite infamous among people. People tend to have many queries about it. So, to solve that some common questions are given below-

  1. Is it risky to use RFID in healthcare? 
  • As it is associated with waves, many have questions regarding its effect on the health of the person. So, RFID is associated with the low-end of the electromagnetic spectrum. This makes it safer, just like the waves coming from your televisions. 
  1.  How much data can a RFID tag hold? 
  • RFID tags store data of the healthcare organizations. It is important to know that how much information they can hold. Generally, the data capacity depends upon the type of tags used. There are tags, which can contain the value between 95 to 129 bits. Furthermore, for industries, the applications can even reach a maximum of 2 KB. 
  1. What is an RFID reader? 
  • It is a device that reads information from the RFID tag, using radiofrequency. It works like an external antenna that extracts information from the tags and then passing it directly to computer processing. Moreover, it can be characterized in many ways based upon protocols, frequency, range, power, etc. These can be divided into versatile categories. 

Conclusion

Lastly, RFID technology is one of the most powerful technologies. And also, have the power to progress the efficiency and the safety of the staff as well as the patient. Moreover, It opens new doors for flourishing the present security and cost savings. And also, It has a great potential of assisting in the medical field. There are many countries in the regions of East Asia, Africa, etc. Which are not using this technology to its full extent. 

Let us know in the comments, what future you think that RFID holds after ten years?

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