A Scottish NHS hospital is to be the first to use an asset tracking system using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to keep tabs on portable equipment.
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Carillion IT Services has been hired by Health Authority NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to design and install a scalable, secure wireless local area network (LAN) and RFID portable asset tracking solution at The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
Trying to locate critical portable medical devices places a major burden on clinical and technical staff. RFID will be used to track defibrillators, infusion pumps and blood pressure monitors.
The RFID wireless technology is now in place across seven wards within the The Royal Alexandra Hospital, including accident and emergency and medical sciences.
Following its initial successes there are plans to extend the coverage across another seven wards of the hospital.
Small electronic tags are attached to the portable medical devices and these send signals to the wireless network. From the signals received the system is able to find the tag and the portable medical device.
The hospital also aims to investigate the potential of using mobile Wi-Fi phones with the installed wireless LAN to improve communication between in-patient services and accident and emergency.
Jason Britton, clinical scientist at the The Royal Alexandra Hospital, said, "The technology that has been installed should improve efficiency at the hospital considerably, due to reducing the amount of time healthcare professionals will spend trying to locate portable equipment as it is moved across different wards.
"This time can then be used more effectively in concentrating on patient care. Maintenance staff should also benefit from knowing exactly where equipment is when undertaking planned maintenance."