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The application of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to patient care in hospitals and healthcare facilities has only just begun to be accepted. This article develops a set of frameworks based on patient life cycle and time-and-motion perspectives for how RFID can be leveraged atop existing information systems to offer many benefits for patient care and hospital operations. It examines how patients are processed from admission to discharge, and considers where RFID can be applied. From a time-and-motion perspective, it shows how hospitals can apply RFID in three ways: fixed RFID readers interrogate mobile objects; mobile, handheld readers interrogate fixed objects; and mobile, handheld readers interrogate mobile objects. Implemented properly, RFID can significantly aid the medical staff in performing their duties. It can greatly reduce the need for manual entry of records, increase security for both patient and hospital, and reduce errors in administering medication. Hospitals are likely to encounter challenges, however, when integrating the technology into their day-to-day operations. What we present here can help hospital administrators determine where RFID can be deployed to add the most value.
Date of Publication: September 2007