Radio frequency identification is a broad term covering any system that can identify objects remotely using radio waves. RFID technologies are used for a wide array of applications in hospitals and clinics-from tracking large assets, such as gurneys and wheelchairs, to tracking inventories of medical devices, such as stents, and identifying lab samples. Different applications have vastly different performance requirements. A large,multi-floor hospital, for instance, might need to identify a piece of medical equipment from 1,000 feet (300 meters) or more away, and locate it to within a 10-foot (3-meter) radius, while a medical researcher might need to identify the slot of a specific test tube only a few inches square in size.
The editors created this special report to help health-care providers choose the RFID technology that can best meet their needs in both the short and long term. It is designed to walk decision-makers through the process of determining their needs, and then matching those requirements to the proper RFID system. This document provides detailed information regarding the performance characteristics, standards, strengths, weaknesses and common applications for each type of passive, active and battery-assisted RFID system. Because health-care providers are primarily interested in locating assets in real time, we have provided detailed information about the real-time location systems (RTLSs) offered for the health-care sector, including a breakdown of the different features of solutions on the market.
No report can conclusively determine the right RFID system for a particular organization's needs, but this guide will help those charged with selecting a system narrow the options. Our goal is to reduce the time hospitals spend researching the appropriate system, and to provide the information they need to choose a systems integrator and, perhaps, hardware and software providers (a good systems integrator will help with the technology-selection process). SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Part 1: What Is RFID?
The Major Types of RFID Systems
- Real-Time Location Systems
Part 2: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Right RFID System for Your Application
1. Determine whether you want to deploy RFID as a point solution to solve one problem, or as an infrastructure approach to solve multiple problems.
2. Determine which objects and/or people you would like to track.
3. Determine over what distance each object or person needs to be identified and tracked.
4. Determine the location accuracy required for each item being tracked, as well as the layout of the environment.
5. Create a table within which you can place each item on your list.
6. Consider other factors that might influence which system is most appropriate:
- How large is the asset?
- How critical is knowledge of the asset's location?
- What other RF devices are in operation in the area in which the RFID system will be used?
- Do you need to monitor the item's condition?
- How much will deploying the system disrupt existing operational activities?
- Does the system need to be intrinsically safe or HERO-compliant?
- How important is data security?
- What is the total cost of ownership?
7. Prioritize the benefits of tracking and managing the objects, or groups of objects, on your list.
8. Engage the services of a good system integrator.
9. Pilot the system.
10. Roll out the system and expand it as needed.
Part 3: The Different Types of Passive RFID Systems
Passive Real-Time Locating Systems
Part 4: The Different Types of Active RFID Systems
- ISO-18000-7 (Dash7)
- Proprietary Systems
Active Real-Time Locating Systems
- Proprietary Systems
Part 5: Battery-Assisted RFID Systems
Part 6: Hybrid RFID Systems
- RFID and Infrared
Part 7: RFID Sensor Networks
Part 8: Alternatives to RFID
- 2-D bar codes
Table 1:Product Features in the Major Real-Time Location Systems for Health Care
- 1. The Components of an RFID System
- 2. RFID Health-Care Applications
- 3. Leading RFID Technology Providers by Type of System Sold
Graph 1: Read Distance and Location Accuracy of the Major Types of RFID Systems
-Guangzhou Zhensai Electronic Co.
-Impeva Labs (now Cubic)
-Invengo Information Technology Co.
-PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG
-Sealed Air (TurboTag)
-Zebra Enterprise Solutions