RFID is often considered the oldest new technology in the world. When it was first released in the 1940s, it was considered groundbreaking. Now more and more companies are starting to use RFID exclusively for medical software to track assets and increase efficiency and provide other benefits.
The medical industry's RFID market is expected to surge significantly at a compound annual growth rate of 22.4% between 2019 and 2025. The reason behind this blowout growth is that when RFID is combined with the Internet of Things and data management systems, RFID can help hospitals improve inventory management and provide patients with more secure services. With this growth, RFID is expected to help revolutionize certain aspects of the medical industry, some of which are outlined below.
Inventory management and inventory backlog
Usually, there is a difference between the supply of medicines and the actual needs of hospitals. RFID technology is a way for medical institutions to bridge this gap. Thanks to these systems, medical institutions can effectively track real-time data on available inventory: including out-of-stock and backlog items. Not only does this look like a sense of technology, some active projects can also help hospitals make better use of RFID-based solutions to manage their inventory.
RFID can also help accurately manage the entire process of patients from admission, treatment to discharge. At the end of the day, this technology can make a significant difference in the number of patients a hospital handles every day. For example, an Adventist Health White Memorial hospital in Los Angeles saved nearly $ 1 million in this way because RFID-driven medical services were delivered faster.
Keep needles clean and safe
Covidien, a St. Louis company, has developed a smart syringe designed to prevent human error in doses and treatment protocols. RFID-equipped syringes are designed to interface between the contents of the syringe and a power-based syringe. This helps radiologists ensure that each patient gets the correct dose at the prescribed concentration.
However, this is just the beginning of Covidien's offering of diverse services. These RFID tags have the effect of preventing the syringe from being reused. If the syringe expires, the RFID function will also end automatically, making the hospital and the patient's injection safer. Covidien has also developed a protocol to automatically synchronize surgery with patient information and print identification information on labels.
Track prescription drugs
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the use of RFID tags to track, monitor, and manage the distribution of prescription drugs in 2004. Since then, large-scale sequences of prescription drugs have effectively combated counterfeit drugs on the black market.
In the report, the FDA explained that each tray of prescription drugs has a unique number, also known as the Electronic Product Code (EPC). The same goes for each box and individual packaging. These numbers are used to track every transaction involving these drugs, helping to reduce the risk of crime and mishandling and improving the distribution process from manufacturer to patient.
In 2015, President Obama signed a new law called the Drug Quality and Safety Act. The bill is designed to help hospitals establish product identifiers (ie, RFID tags). Since then, these policy support have radically improved the management of the distribution of prescription drugs, reduced the incidence of counterfeit drugs, and helped hospitals better manage and distribute drugs to patients.
Asset management and protection
Regardless of the industry, manual asset management tracking and distribution often requires significant resources. In health care, these resources can be used to secure more beds, doctors and medical supplies, which are needed for daily operations. This is where RFID tags come into play.
Hospitals can use active RFID tags to collect critical asset information, such as the maintenance status of equipment, to help hospitals ensure that their equipment works accurately and efficiently. The advantages of RFID-based asset tracking in healthcare include efficient data collection and processing to count the number of machines and equipment in hospitals, thanks to the ability of RFID to read multiple tags simultaneously. In addition, RFID enables real-time asset lifecycle management, remote location and tracking of new assets and asset security system support, and may trigger alerts when any criminal activity occurs, such as someone stealing or tampering with assets.
When it comes to the impact of RFID tags on the medical industry, the above is just the tip of the iceberg. But this technology deserves overvaluation in helping hospitals save more lives.