In this paper, we present the design, implementation, and testing of a radio-frequency identification (RFID) system for healthcare applications. The constantly growing passive RFID technology at ultra-high frequencies (UHF), in conjunction with current state-of-the-art information and communication technologies (ICTs), was used for the system design. The end product was installed at an oncology hospital in Cyprus, where it was thoroughly evaluated by medical staff and hospital administrators. This pilot project had three main objectives: a) automatic and error-free patient identification of in-hospital patients using RFID-enabled cards or wristbands; b) Real-time location service (RTLS) for locating and tracking medical assets and high-value equipment in the hospital ward; c) quick and hassle-free drug inventory management through the use of inexpensive smart labels and cost-effective stationary readers. Here, we present a detailed description of the three major subsystems of the pilot project, emphasizing the main features and capabilities of the system, important design and implementation issues, as well as system evaluation and testing. During the design stage of the project, special emphasis was placed on user friendliness, system capabilities, adequate coverage and tag readability, privacy and security of sensitive patient data, system reliability, and the daily practices of medical personnel and hospital administrators.
- healthcare information system
- inventory management
- patient identification
- Radio frequency identifi cation
- real time location service