NewsHealthcare Transformed by RFID Breakthroughs

Healthcare Transformed by RFID Breakthroughs


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Early encounters with radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging in the healthcare sector faced challenges, but recent advancements signal a promising shift. Despite initial reservations, many healthcare organizations are yet to fully embrace RFID technology, according to Andrew Meyer, Director of Global Standards at GS1 US.

Meyer acknowledged that RFID was once a costly and unreliable option in the early 2000s but emphasized that the technological landscape has transformed significantly since then. “The technology has matured – it’s much more reliable and can be used to address a variety of different use cases,” he stated.

Mike Isabell, Principal Engineer at CCL eAgile, concurred with Meyer’s assessment, highlighting prevailing myths about RFID technology hindering its broader adoption in healthcare. Addressing concerns about speed and cost, Isabell emphasized that modern RFID solutions have debunked these misconceptions. Live demonstrations have showcased the swift application and encoding of tags at standard manufacturing line speeds, making them adaptable to existing packaging lines without major upgrades.

The evolution of RFID chips, the small integrated circuits storing product information, has played a crucial role in overcoming issues of interference, security, and interoperability. Isabell noted that these advanced chips efficiently communicate essential product information to healthcare professionals without the need for barcode scanning or manual label reading.

Furthermore, modern RFID chips eliminate the necessity for specialized cloud solutions or costly proprietary lookup systems. They seamlessly integrate into manufacturing lines, removing previous obstacles in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Isabell highlighted innovative systems supporting item level serialization, managing robust data packages while maintaining impressive read, code, and validation speeds.

The introduction of new RFID Global Standards (GS1 TDS 2.0, SGTIN+, TIPP) further enhances efficiency in recording, pulling, and storing data from tags. Meyer emphasized that these standards provide a standardized method for manufacturing source coding, streamlining RFID adoption in healthcare.

The combined progress in RFID technologies and standards opens up opportunities for healthcare organizations to enhance patient safety. Meyer envisions broader RFID adoption, envisioning scenarios where RFID chips prevent patient exposure to allergic drugs and streamline manual processes for pharmacists and nurses.

Isabell echoed Meyer’s sentiments, highlighting how modern embedded RFID technologies facilitate seamless communication and data exchange between various healthcare stakeholders. This, he emphasized, results in a more cohesive and efficient healthcare ecosystem, offering innovative solutions to longstanding challenges in the industry.

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