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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the politics, technology category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

RFID Tagging Hospital Patients

Near Near Future points to a medical technology outfit, Radianse, who have developed a single-use RFID tag to help hospital staff keep track of patient locations.

When I last had a spell in hospital, the thing I noticed most, aside from the agonising pain and sweet, sweet relief provided by morphine on demand, was the flow of patients between departments, which was far from smooth. For example, I needed at least one chest X-Ray a day, and this involved a painful transfer from bed to wheelchair (top tip: don’t get your chest tube caught on the bed rail) followed by a wait for a porter, followed by another, usually lengthy, wait to see the radiographer, with many fellow patients, most in worse nick than I was, followed by another lengthy wait for a porter to return me to the ward. This is not good - keeping patients with serious conditions in a waiting room is dangerous, compared to the safety a bed, surrounded by lovely nursing staff and handy life-saving equipment.

With a full patient-, and, for that matter, staff-location system, combined with software tracking the status of each department, the time a patient spends away from the safety of the ward could be minimised: is there a backlog in the X-ray dept? Then don’t move patient X off the ward, and move patient Y back to their bed. Is the surgeon’s RFID tag still on the golf course? Then stop pumping anaesthetic into the arm of patient Z, summon up the nearest RFID-tagged porter pusing an empty RFID-tagged trolley-bed, and pop her back to the ward.

Spending money on technology like this certainly seems a better idea than, say, pushing it out of the NHS and into the hands of private sector.

(Just after posting the above, I spotted a more frivolous health-related use of RFID, at RFID In Japan, surely the geekiest feed I read. It’s a talking doll that aims to foster a caring mentality in children by occasionally coughing and sneezing, then responding to treatment with RFID-tagged syringes, sweets and medicine.)

Posted at 12pm on 17/02/05 by Jack Mottram to the politics, technology category.
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