German hospital uses RFID for patient identification

Von Computing SA

Technology partners Siemens Business Services, Intel and Fujitsu Siemens Computers have launched a pilot project for patient identification based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) at Klinikum Saarbrücken Hospital in southern Germany.

Covering approximately 1,000 patients, the deployment of the latest IT and RFID technology aims to provide easier access to patient data, and to help improve safety in drug dosage and administration.

In future, patients admitted to the hospital will be given a wristband with an integrated RFID chip containing their patient number, which can be read by doctors and nurses using tablet PCs and PDAs.

The identification is designed to enable authorized persons to access a protected database containing the patient"s data, including details of any drugs to be administered and the correct dosages, online via a WLAN. Unauthorized access is prevented using the latest encryption technology.

The project is based on an RFID solution already in use at the Jacobi Medical Center in New York. A particular focus of this pilot project is drug safety.

Faster, easier identification of patients is intended to enable caregivers to intensify the level of care, and to administer drugs easily and safely, since certain data and risk factors -- such as allergies, for example -- can be stored for each patient.

The overall technical equipment for the RFID solution includes notebooks from Fujitsu Siemens Computers for accessing the patient system, as well as Pocket Loox PDAs and Stylistic Tablet PCs with Intel Centrino. A WLAN infrastructure is also installed.

The patients taking part in the pilot project can call up their own medical information via information terminals, including blood pressure levels, weight, and treatment or discharge dates, and can also find out about the diagnosed condition and the standard treatments, the companies said.