RFID tags linked to EHRs help keep track of ED patients

Electronic health record vendor Meditech and real-time location system (RTLS) vendor Awarepoint have collaborated on a product that integrates RTLS with EHRs to help hospitals run their emergency departments.       

The partnership, announced earlier this month, combines the two technologies to track patients as they wend their way through the ED. The technology will register each patient, assigning him or her a radio frequency ID (RFID) tracking tag number. When the patient changes location, the tracker automatically informs the EHR so that hospital staff knows the whereabouts of the patient, and records what treatment is being provided. The system also can register, discharge and transfer patients directly from the tracker. The first hospital to test the system is Monongahela (Pa.) Valley Hospital.

"The integration of these two technologies is improving data accuracy and increasing the efficiency and productivity of our staff," Louis J. Panza, Jr., President and CEO of the hospital, said, according to a press release.

The combining of RFID technology with EMR systems has been used previously in other healthcare settings. In late September, Trimble and XECAN announced the launch of integrated software for oncology patients that increases patient scheduling efficiencies. The integration enables the RFID, worn by the patient in a lanyard, to automatically open the EHR to the patient's treatment plan, reducing patient identification and treatment errors, according to an EMR Daily News article. And in March, an Oregon clinic announced that was using RFID tags in its clinicians' ID badges to trigger computers to permit access to the clinic's EHR system, according to the RFID Journal.           

To learn more:
- read the press release 
- check out this InformationWeek Healthcare article
- here's information on the integrated technology for oncology treatment
- here's the RFID Journal article on RFID use to access EMRs